J&K Police find links between 4 journalists & mastermind of blog
J&K Police said the four journalists who were questioned by them had links with the mastermind behind the blog on firstname.lastname@example.org that had been running a slender campaign against political workers, activists and journalists in Kashmir.
A police spokesperson said in a statement that during the course of investigation of the case registered at the Kothibagh police station, credible evidence was found which linked Mir Hilal of Bemina (journalist, TRTworld), Mohammad Shah Abbas of Anantnag (freelance journalist), Azhar Qadri of Bemina (journalist) and Showkat Motta of Lal Bazaar (former editor-in-chief of The Narrator and currently working at a wholesale shop) with the mastermind who is behind the blog email@example.com.
“On the basis of the evidence collected, searches were conducted at four different places after obtaining proper search warrants from the competent court of law. During the searches, some mobile phones, laptops and other gadgets were seized,” the statement said.
The spokesperson further said for the purpose of investigation, they (journalists) were called for questioning and allowed to go in the evening and have been directed to present themselves tomorrow again.
“The investigation is in progress and the scrutiny of electronic gadgets is also going on. So far various numbers of Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi have been found. They have been found to be in contact with various virtual numbers as well.”
The spokesperson, while quoting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar, denied it to be an issue of harassment of journalists. A due process of law is being followed while investigating a sensitive case and the media fraternity has been advised not to spread false news or narrative which may amount to unnecessary interference in investigation of the case, the spokesperson added.
“The involved persons would be arrested in this case as and when the evidence is collected,” the spokesperson further said.
The police had on Wednesday carried out raids at the houses of four journalists in different parts of the city, raising concerns over the press freedom in Kashmir.
Reporters Sans Frontiers, in a tweet, condemned the raids on journalists: “@RSF_inter firmly condemns as crude intimidation this morning’s police raids at the residence of 4 journalists - @KashmirNarrator editor Showkat Matta, @trtworld and @HuffPost’s @mirhilaal, and freelancers @AzharQadri and Abbas Shah #JournalismIsNotACrime (sic).”