Kashmir journalist arrested for ‘anti-national’ activities
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, in a statement said that Sajad Gul uploaded “objectionable videos with anti-national slogans” raised by some women folk on the day when a “most-wanted” terrorist was eliminated in Srinagar
A journalist has been arrested in Kashmir for allegedly uploading a protest video of the family of a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant, who was killed in an encounter with security forces earlier this week, his organisation said on Saturday.
The arrest has triggered outrage from media and politicians against the J&K administration amid demands of his release.
Sajad Gul, a resident of north Kashmir’s Bandipora who had been working with online news portal The Kashmir Walla, was first picked up by the army and then handed over to police on January 5, the organisation said.
The news outlet said that Gul was charged under sections 120B, 153B, and 505B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
“Gul had posted a video of the protest against the killing of Salim Parray, a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander. Parray was killed on January 3 in a gunfight in Harwan, Srinagar. After the killing, minor protests and sloganeering happened in (his native area ) Hajin, in north Kashmir,” the organisation said in a report on its website.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, in a statement said that Sajad Gul uploaded “objectionable videos with anti-national slogans” raised by some women folk on the day when the “most-wanted” terrorist was eliminated in Srinagar.
He said that Gul under the “garb of journalism” was habitual of spreading “disinformation and false narratives” through different social media platforms in order to create “ill will” against the government by provoking general masses to resort to violence and disturb public peace and tranquillity.
“Moreover, his overall activities are prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and unity of India. Accordingly, a case has been registered against him in which he has been arrested and presently is on police remand,” the statement added.
The statement also detailed two other FIRs filed against Gul.
Editor of The Kashmir Walla, Fahad Shah has, meanwhile, sought Gul’s immediate release. “I strongly condemn this and stress that journalism shouldn’t be criminalised. Our legal team is working to seek his earliest release,” Shah said in a tweet.
Kashmir Press Club (KPC) president Shuja ul Haq said, “Scores of journalists like Sajad work on the ground and face difficulties like these. We hope that in this case the authorities will take a note.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists also expressed their worry over Gul’s arrest.
People’s Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti alleged that laws have been “communalised” by booking Kashmiri journalists for reporting on human rights while leaving those calling for Muslim genocide in the country.
“There is a different set of laws applicable to J&K vis a vis rest of India. Radicalised groups openly calling for genocide of Muslims are roaming free while Kashmiri journalists shining a light on state sponsored human rights violations are jailed. Laws too have been communalized,” she said in a tweet.
This is not the first time that Gul has been booked following his journalistic work.
In February 2021, an FIR was registered against him after he wrote a story about a demolition drive in a village in Hajin. The revenue officer concerned, Ghulam Mohmmad Bhat, Hajin tehsildar, had said that the FIR was registered after stones were pelted during a demolition drive and some structures and shops to be demolished were built by uncles of the reporter concerned.