Sunday, October 2, 2022

KPC Controversy: Govt hands over control of KPC premises back to Estates Department

Srinagar: In view of the emergent situation regarding the functioning of the Kashmir Press Club and its subsequent takeover by a group of journalists, the government on Monday decided to hand over the control of premises of Pres Club premises including building and land back to the estates department and stated that it was committed to free and fair press.

According to a statement, issued to Kashmir News Service (KNS), a spokesperson said that the government is committed to a free and fair press and believes that journalists are entitled to all facilities, including a place for professional, educational, social, cultural, recreational and welfare activities.

The statement reads that it also hopes that a duly registered bona fide society of all journalists shall be constituted as soon as possible and the same shall be able to approach the government for reallocation of the premises.

It reads that the government is concerned over the emergent situation which has arisen due to the unpleasant turn of events involving two rival warring groups using the banner of the Kashmir Press Club.

“The factual position is that KPC as a registered body has ceased to exist and its managing body too has come to a legal closure on 14 July 2021, the date on which its tenure came to an end. In its failure to register itself under the central Societies of Registration Act, further compounded by its failure to hold elections to constitute a new managing body, some individuals of the erstwhile club have been committing illegalities on several counts, least of which are false portrayal of being owner-managers of an entity which is no longer in legal vogue,” it reads.

As per the statement, meanwhile, some other members have created an interim body using the same banner suggesting a ‘takeover’. “However, since the original KPC itself has ceased to exist as registered body, the question of any interim body is rendered infructuous. In these circumstances, issuing of notices and communication by any group using the rubric of erstwhile Kashmir Press Club is illegal.”

It reads that meanwhile, the rival groups have been leveling various allegations against each other also with regard to the use of the premises belonging to the estates department that was being used for the legitimate use of the members of the journalistic fraternity.

“In view of this aspect of the dispute and in view of the reports in social media and other sources indicating a potential law and order situation including a threat of breach of peace and the safety of bona fide journalists, an intervention has become necessary.”

The statement reads that in view of the unpleasant developments and dissensions between various groups of journalists, it has been decided that the allotment of the premises at Polo View in view of the now deregistered Kashmir Press Club be cancelled and control of land and buildings situated at Polo View Srinagar which belongs to the Estates Department be reverted back to the said Department. (KNS)

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