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Reporters banned from covering seige in Kashmir

The Indian government has placed restrictions on reporting in Kashmir during and after the siege, and subsequent burning, of the shrine at Charar-e-Sharief. Authorities banned reporters in mid-March from visiting Charar-e-Sharief, where Indian troops had laid siege to a 15th-century Sufi shrine occupied by militant separatists. The siege ended last week, when fires of undetermined origin gutted the shrine and most of the surrounding town.

Because of the ban on reporting in the area, no independent accounts of the shrine's destruction were available. While the ban has been relaxed in the aftermath of the fires, reporters are still barred from entering the town itself and may approach it only under army escort.

An additional curb was imposed on Sunday, 14 May, after the Prime Minister dispatched Home Minister S.B. Chavan and Finance Minister Manmohan Singh to Srinagar. Reporters were confined to their hotel during the visit by the two ministers, according to the "New York Times". These restrictions are consistent with the accounts of Kashmiri journalists whom CPJ spoke with during a fact-finding visit to Srinagar in March.

Border areas, locales subjected to cordon-and-search operations, and sites of army-militant confrontation are regularly declared off-limits, members of the local press told us. CPJ's findings will be detailed in a report on press freedom in Kashmir, to be released in early June.

Date posted: May 16, 1995Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 825