Scheduled to visit the Valley for five days starting Saturday, a four-member fact-finding committee of the Press Council of India has postponed its tour at the last moment after the Jammu and Kashmir administration advised them to come to the state after November 4 in view of the current security situation, and the fact that government offices are being moved from Srinagar to Jammu ahead of winter.
The request to postpone came from the state Information Department.
Responding to the committee’s letter, dated August 27, informing it about the visit, the Information Department wrote on October 9, stating that “request of the sub-committee was processed and keeping in view the present security scenario in the State and due to move of offices from Srinagar to Jammu, the sub-committee can visit the State of J&K any day after 4th November 2019”.
It requested the committee to share details of the scheduled visit for state officials to make “necessary arrangements”.
The committee had intended to visit the state from October 12 to 17, with plans to meet “editors, management, working journalists and government officials…” the committee’s convenor, P K Dash, informed Justice C K Prasad (retired), chairman of the Council, on October 9.
In a communication to the members on Thursday evening, Justice Prasad stated, “In case Members can manage their visit and achieve the objectives without the help and assistance of the State Government they can do so. Ordinarily assistance is needed but it is for the Convener and members to take the final call.”
One committee member told The Indian Express that all four members were ready to leave on October 12, but will now visit J&K on November 6. Some members, though, are not happy with the delay. One member said that as an autonomous body, the Council should have gone ahead with its scheduled visit.