India arrests prominent Kashmiri journalist

Published February 6, 2022
Fahad Shah, right, editor-in-chief of Kashmir Walla, works on his computer inside the newsroom at his office in Srinagar, Indian-occupied Kashmir, Jan 21. — AP
Fahad Shah, right, editor-in-chief of Kashmir Walla, works on his computer inside the newsroom at his office in Srinagar, Indian-occupied Kashmir, Jan 21. — AP

SRINAGAR: A prominent journalist in Occupied Kashmir has been arrested by police and accused of “glorifying terrorism” and “spreading fake news” in the disputed region, where an ongoing press crackdown has intensified.

Fahad Shah, the editor of Kashmir Walla news portal, had already been questioned several times for his reporting by officers in recent years.

He had been arrested for “glorifying terrorism, spreading fake news and inciting general public”, Kashmir police said on Saturday.

A police statement that followed his arrest the day before added that Shah’s Facebook posts had dented “the image of law enforcing agencies”.

The Committee to Protect Journalists demanded Shah’s release and called on Indian authorities to respect press freedom in the disputed Himalayan region.

Shah’s arrest demonstrated “authorities’ utter disregard for press freedom and the fundamental right of journalists to report freely and safely”, Steven Butler of the Washington-based watchdog said.

Dozens of journalists in Occupied Kashmir have regularly been summoned by police and questioned on their work since 2019, when New Delhi revoked the territory’s partial autonomy and brought it under direct rule.

They have been increasingly subjected to harassment, arrests, raids and prosecution on “terrorism-related” charges.

Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2022

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