Indian police seize newspapers amid Kashmir unrest
In a bid to crush freedom uprising in the divided Kashmir, police seized tens of thousands of newspapers early on Saturday and detained printing press workers, ramping up an information blackout, officials said.
Teams of officers swooped on major newspaper offices in the restive region overnight, seizing printing plates in an attempt to curb news of fatal clashes from spreading as a curfew was extended into its eighth day.
With the internet and mobile networks already suspended, authorities also halted cable television, fearing news of protesters’ deaths could fuel further protests after the restive region’s worst violence in years.
“Police on Saturday night raided the printing press and seized the printed copies of Kashmir Reader,” the English-language daily said on its website, adding that eight of its workers had been arrested.
“The policemen seized the plates of Greater Kashmir (newspaper) and over 50,000 printed copies of (Urdu-language daily) Kashmir Uzma and closed down the GKC printing press,” said another group that publishes the region’s highest-circulation newspaper, adding that three of its workers had been detained.
Senior Hurriyat leaders, while extending their strike call for another three days, thanked the Pakistani government for supporting their freedom cause.
In the latest of clashes, two people including a teenager were killed on Friday as clashes spread despite a curfew in the troubled valley, officials said.
The teen died, while three protesters were critically wounded, when Indian troops opened fire on a group in the frontier Kupwara area, told a police officer speaking on condition of anonymity.
The death of popular leader Burhan Wani in a gunfight with government forces last week sparked clashes in which more than 3,000 people, including about 200 police officers, have been injured.
Authorities had warned that nobody except medics and ambulances could be allowed to move on the streets, but widespread anti-India protests and clashes erupted in dozens of places, even as authorities prevented tens of thousands of people from offering Friday prayers in big mosques with a lockdown in place.
Government forces fired tear gas, pellet shotguns and live bullets at hundreds of demonstrators who defied the curfew, a senior police officer said requesting anonymity.
It is the worst civilian violence to hit the region since 2010, when mass protests broke out and left 120 dead.
Hospitals in the main city of Srinagar have struggled to cope with the rush of wounded, hundreds of them with severe injuries in their eyes.