Political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday reacted sharply to the sealing of the office of ''Kashmir Times'' in Srinagar by authorities, while a group of about dozen journalists offered their services for free as a mark of solidarity with the newspaper.
The Estates Department on Monday sealed the office of the prominent English daily allotted to it in a government building at Press Enclave, with the newspaper owners claiming that no prior notice was given to them.
The former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah condemned the government action.
"This explains why some of our ''esteemed'' publications have decided to become government mouthpieces, printing only government press handouts. The price of independent reportage is to be evicted without due process," he alleged in his tweet.
Expressing solidarity with Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin, the group of journalists alleged that there are renewed attempts ''to throttle the daily" which has been "at the forefront of fighting against government curbs on communications and press freedom in Kashmir, especially post-August 5".
"We express our solidarity and support to its editors and our colleagues there," it said
"Some of the undersigned journalists would also like to extend an offer of devoting some work hours, for free, every day to support the Kashmir Times editorial team which can somewhat help sustain the paper in these difficult times," it said in a statement.
CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami alleged that "it is nothing but vendetta politics and an attempt to suppress the dissenting voices in the region".
Anuradha Bhasin had alleged that her newspaper had been targeted as she had moved the Supreme Court against media restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir after the Centre abrogated Article 370 in August last year.