Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday cancelled the allotment of accommodation to Kashmir Press Club as fighting factions claimed control of the body.
An official statement said on Monday, “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.
“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.
“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 satefy of bonafide journalists, an intervention has become necessary.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Earlier, in the day, a war of attrition broke out between the local journalists over the control of Kashmir Press Club after its management was taken over by senior journalist, Saleem Pandit.
Many journalists demanded that the control of the club be given to a team of duly elected management.