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Curfew continues in Kashmir, No Ban on Newspapers

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TNI Bureau: The situation remained tensed in the Kashmir Valley on the fifth day after the curfew was imposed on Feb 9 following the execution of Parliament attack convict Muhammad Afzal Guru in Delhi’s Tihar jail. Three people have died so far and scores were injured in the clashes between protesters and security forces.

The Newspapers bore losses as the printing and distribution were affected due to indefinite curfew. However, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that no restriction has been imposed on the publication of newspapers.

His comment came after several media offices resumed functioning on Wednesday after four days gap. Omar said that no ban order has been imposed on media, but the dailies had decided not to go for printing due to curfew that created problems in distribution.

Omar said on Twitter that If a ban had been imposed on newspapers, it could have been extended to their internet editions. But it did not happen. They regularly updated their online editions.

“As the restrictions ease the newspapers will resume publication because the problem isn’t with printing. It’s with them being unable to (distribute),” he said.

He clarified the government’s stand on alleged ban on media saying to produce a single copy of the government order over the matter. “And those continuously going on about a “government gag” would be well advised to produce a single copy of this gag order,” he added on Twitter.

His reaction came after Press Council of India (PCI) Chairperson Markandey Katju wrote to Omar saying “a short term restraint order on publication of newspapers may be justified in the wake of Afzal Guru’s execution, but will be unreasonable if it goes on for a long time”.

Even though, The curfew has prevented large-scale protests across the valley, the authorities have registered a case against personnel of 92 Battalion Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Tuesday for allegedly using excessive force to maintain law and order in north Kashmir’s Handwara area.

The case was registered after a teenager died in police firing and four others were injured. The authorities alleged that police are dealing the minor incident with harsh manner.

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