Senior journalist and executive editor of Kashmir Times, Anuradha Bhasin has alleged that her government-allotted flat in Jammu was ransacked by few “goons” at around 3 pm on October 4.
The alleged intruders were identified by Bhasin as Imran Ganai, brother of former Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) Shehnaz Ganai, along with some Personal Security Officers (PSO) in civil dress, who had barged into her house without giving any explanation.
Recalling the incident, Bhasin said that following her daily routine, she visited the flat and found that the lock was broken. Perplexed, she called few of her colleagues who helped her get inside the house.
“I kept asking them questions and they ignored me as if I don’t exist. While they were dumping my belongings into one room, breakable items were thrown around. We were being shoved, pushed and had to fight back in self-defence while one of them sprawled on my bed,” Bhasin told NewsClick. The journalist said that she called the police regarding the incident but they were reluctant to lodge a complaint.
According to Bhasin, she has been an authorised occupant of the government flat since 1999-2000. “Before me, the flat was allotted to my father in 1969. Both the allotments were done under the journalist category. I have not been served any show-cause notice or allotment cancellation notice till date.”
The senior journalist said that she had heard rumours from Estates Department insiders that the allotment of the government flat has been cancelled but no eviction notice or official order was sent to her. “I sent a legal notice to know about the status of the allotment and seek the grounds on which the allotment was being cancelled through speed-post. There has been no response till date,” said Bhasin.
Bhasin said that she had heard similar rumours from the inside sources regarding the government accommodation in which the Kashmir Times office is located in Srinagar’s Press Enclave. “I have not received any cancellation notice or any sort of notice yet. I have, again, sent a legal notice, but there has been no response. They refuse to serve us official orders but are sending in goons,” she said.
Kashmir Times had last year filed a petition in the Supreme Court through executive editor Anuradha Bhasin against the media blockade and internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation Article 370. In the petition, Kashmir Times had asked the SC to direct the central government to relax the restrictions in order to ensure freedom of movement of journalists and media personnel in Kashmir and some districts of Jammu.
Bhasin said she saw the break-in incident as an attempt to silence her as she has been critical of the Centre and the policies of the state administration. “There is clearly a pattern. This is an open harassment but I want to say one thing – I am too strong to be cowed down,” she said.