SMC barges in Alsafa press compound, turns it into vendor market

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Srinagar, June 20 (GNS): Srinagar Municipal Corporation employees along with the street vendors barged into Alsafa Press at Saria Bala here on Monday afternoon and forcibly occupied the compound of the Press.
The SMC employees and the vendors manhandled the staff members of Alsafa newspaper and Press and English daily Precious Kashmir.
When SMC Commissioner was contacted he disconnected the phone saying, “I am in the Assembly.” After that he ignored the repeated phone calls.
Management of Alsafa and Precious Kashmir news papers said, “Vendors who have occupied the compound of the Press have been told by the SMC officials that they can set up their stalls inside the compound and run their businesses from there,” they said. “We went to SMC office also but none of the officials met us,” they said.
It’s in place to mention here that SMC was under tremendous pressure to clear the street vendors from the city roads to pave the way for vehicles to ply smoothly.
The editor of the Alsafa news said, “A few days ago we had carried a news story about how the move of the government to provide alternate place to street vendors inside a parking space near Jehangir Chowk had backfired. It seems government by occupying our premises wants to teach us a lesson so that we don’t report the truth.”
He added: “Whenever PDP has come into power it has targeted Alsafa news. It’s not for the first time that Alsafa press has been targeted it has happened on many occasions in the past.”
The SMC encroaching the land which has been allotted to run a newspaper office and a Press is an open example of hooliganism, said a scribe. “By doing so government wants to send a message to media outlets to toe the official line or be ready to face the consequences,” he said.
Alsafa news management has lodged a Police complaint in this connection and has urged the law enforcing agencies to follow law of the land and get the compound of the Press vacated. (GNS)