Ten journalists’ associations based in Kashmir on Thursday issued a joint statement seeking the restoration of the Kashmir Press Club.

Members of the journalists’ associations held a meeting under the umbrella of the Kashmir Media Coalition.

In the joint statement, the organisations condemned the “attempted forcible take-over by a tiny group of journalists and subsequent shutting down of the Kashmir Press Club by the J&K administration”.

On Monday, the Jammu and Kashmir government took control of the building allotted to Kashmir Press Club after a group of journalists and newspaper owners accompanied by members of the armed forces took over the establishment and elected a management body on January 15.

The building was taken over by the government a day after it suspended the registration of the press club, citing adverse reports from the police’s Criminal Investigation Department. Before this, the Kashmir Press Club had announced it will hold elections to form a new management and an executive committee on February 15.

The journalists’ bodies that attended the meeting on Thursday resolved to “seek an explanation from the registering authority about the grounds on which the club’s re-registration was put ‘in abeyance’ and the club was shut down in an arbitrary manner”.

“The journalist bodies resolved to explore all avenues for restoration of the Kashmir Press Club at the earliest,” the collective said. “It also gave a week’s time to the last elected 11-member body to brief the journalist bodies about the developments with regard to restoration of the Kashmir Press Club.”

The collective also expressed gratitude to journalists’ bodies in India and abroad for supporting the restoration of the Kashmir Press Club.

Several journalists’ bodies, including the Editors Guild of India, Press Club of India and Mumbai Press Club, expressed shock over the Kashmir Press Club’s takeover earlier this week. They sought restoration of the club’s registration as a society and early polls.

The joint statement has been ratified by the Anjuman Urdu Sahafat, Jammu and Kashmir Editors Association, Jammu and Kashmir Journalists Association, Jammu and Kashmir Press Association, Journalist Federation Kashmir, Kashmir Journalist Association, Kashmir Press Photographers Association, Kashmir Union of Working Journalists, Kashmir Video Journalists Association and Kashmir Working Journalists Association.

The collective is slated to hold another meeting in this regard on January 27.