SRINAGAR: For the first time since 1990, Indian newspapers and magazines have not been distributed in the valley for about a month now.
Hilal Khan, owner of the famed Khan News Agency at Residency Road, said that it was during the rule of the infamous governor Jagmohan Malhotra that Indian dailies and periodicals could not reach the valley because of curfew that lasted about two months.
After overseeing about four major massacres in which scores of people were killed, Jagmohan had enforced curfew that is remembered for its strictness. Those were the initial days of the armed uprising against Indian rule.
“But even during those difficult times magazines would reached here a week after due date. This time not even magazines are coming not to speak of daily newspapers,” Khan said.
Khan said the leading newspaper distributors see no point in buying and distributing newspapers and magazines in a valley where a shutdown called by the resistance leadership and curfew enforced by thousands of troopers and policemen entered the 40th day on Wednesday.
“As always I open the shop early in the morning. But today a police vehicle announced from its public address system that people should close shops. Even a tea vendor was asked to go home. I wasn’t specifically told to close the shop but when curfew is enforced with such vigor who will buy newspapers,” Khan said.
Indian dailies are dispatched to the valley from Chandigarh and New Delhi via aircraft and normally reach newspaper sellers in the evening.
Khan said that even local newspapers have curtailed circulation because they find it difficult to distribute them. He said he sells only 50 copies of a leading local English daily these days compared to 200 copies per day normally.