Kashmir Editors’ Guild on Wednesday expressed concern over the raids conducted by the National Investigative Agency on the premises of Greater Kashmir, and said that the media in the Union Territory continues to be “targeted, demonised, vilified and raided” by both state and non-state actors.
The guild said that while the NIA, after a five-hour wait, said the raid was on the Greater Kashmir trust, the management of the newspaper said the investigating agency checked the computers and took away their hard drives.
“Kashmir media has proven record of being a professional institution that maintained textbook objectivity while maintaining its core journalistic values,” the guild said in a statement. “This is despite the adversity of an extraordinary situation and the mounting challenges day in and day out.”
It further expressed concern over the “mounting costs” of being a journalist in the Union Territory. “It hopes that Kashmir media is permitted to function without hassles and hurdles,” the guild said. “This is in the interest of everybody within and outside Jammu and Kashmir.”
Earlier in the day, the NIA carried out searches at 10 locations in Jammu and Kashmir, including at Greater Kashmir, and one in Bengaluru in connection with its inquiry in a fresh terror funding case. The agency said in a statement that the “so-called NGOs [non-governmental organisations] and trusts” raise funds in the name of charitable activities and then use it for secessionist and separatist activities.
It added that a new case was registered based on credible information that the non-governmental organisations were using funds for terrorist activities.
Apart from the premises of Greater Kashmir, the NIA also raided the offices of NGO Athroot, the home of human rights activist Khurram Parvez, and a houseboat named HB Hilton in the Dal Lake. The premises of Parvez’s associates Parvez Ahmad Bukhari, Parvez Ahmad Matta and Bengaluru-based associate Swati Sheshadri and Parveena Ahanger, the chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, were also searched.
Khurram Parvez was detained for 76 days in 2016 under the Public Safety Act, while in July 2019, Fayaz Ahmad Kaloo, the editor of Greater Kashmir, and Rashid Makhdoomi, its publisher, were summoned to Delhi and questioned by the National Investigation Agency for a week. The investigating agency did not give an official reason for the summons. Some reports suggested they were questioned for the newspaper’s coverage of the 2016 Kashmir protests, triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani. Others had suggested Kaloo’s interrogation was related to a terror funding investigation.