SRINAGAR: The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) asked Indian authorities to immediately release a journalist in held Kashmir, days after police arrested him for uploading a video clip of a protest against Indian occupation

The media watchdog on Saturday said it was deeply disturbed by the arrest of Sajad Gul, an independent journalist and media student. The CPJ wrote on Twitter it was asking Indian authorities to drop their investigation related to his journalistic work.

Indian soldiers picked up Gul from his home in northeastern Shahgund village on Wednesday night and later handed him over to the police, his family said. He had posted a video of family members and relatives protesting the killing of a Kashmiri fighter on Monday.

Initially, police said he would be released but on Friday, his family was told that a formal case was opened against Gul on charges of criminal conspiracy and working against national integration. If convicted, he faces life imprisonment or even death penalty.

Journalists have increasingly voiced concerns about harassment and threats by the police that have effectively restricted reporting after India revoked occupied Kashmir’s semi-autonomy and divided the region into two federally governed territories in 2019.

Many journalists have been arrested, beaten, harassed and sometimes investigated under antiterrorism laws.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2022

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