Jammu,July 5-Several congress leaders,including a couple of ministers,have decided to take up with Chief Minister,Omar Abdullah,the issue related to the sealing of three newspaper offices in Jammu on July 1.
J&K’s leading news agency Kashmir Independent Press (KIP) quoating Party sources said that the leaders of the state unit of the Congress,especially those belonging to the Jammu region,feel upset over the Government step in sealing the offices and printing presses of the three nespapers forcing the owners and the editors to suspend the publications during the last five days.Sources said that the party leaders feel worried over the future of 300 employees,working in these offices.Number of employees had approached sever al congress leaders and apprised them of their difficulties.Most of these employees ae bread winners of their families.
According to KIP,a couple of senior Congress leaders expressed resentment over the way the family members of the owner and editor of the Early Times,which too have faced the Government axe were being harrassed by the police on the instructions of those who claim toe close to the Chief Minister.One Minister said that the Chief Minister has been misled and some of the employees,working in the newspapers that have been sealed,have identified the man who had been instrumental in motivating the Government in taking very harsh step which was nothing but an attempt to muzzle press freedom.
KIP said that Number of congress leaders have suggested to the PCC Chief, Saif-ud-Din Soz, to discuss the matter with the Chief Minister because continued ban on the three newspapers would lead to starvation of the family members of the employees and ultimately damage the Congress in Jammu.The Congress leaders said that already people in Jammu have started blaming the Congress for not having taken any bold against curbing press freedom.
Anot her party leader sdaid that the Government decision to seal the newspaper offices would affect the Congress performance during the ensuing civic and Panchayat elections as in various areas of the region people have expressed their deep resentment not only against the Chief Minister but against the Congress party also.(KIP)