Home News Media News India: RSF calls for release of Kashmiri reporter held for a tweet

India: RSF calls for release of Kashmiri reporter held for a tweet

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of a reporter for The Kashmir Walla website who has been detained in a completely arbitrary manner for the past six days in Indian-administered Kashmir and is facing the possibility of more than six years in prison for nothing more than a tweet.

Sajad Ahmad Dar, who writes under the by-line of Sajad Gul, was arrested by Indian soldiers on the night of 5 January and was taken to police station in Sumbal, a town 20 km north of the region’s capital, Srinagar.

 

On 8 January, he was charged with criminal conspiracy, assertions prejudicial to national-integration and statements conducing to public mischief under sections 120B, 153B and 505 of India’s penal code, which carry a possible combined sentence of six and a half years in prison.

 

By way of “conspiracy,” Gul simply posted a tweet on 3 January with a video showing sporadic protests against the death earlier that day of Salim Parray, a separatist activist regarded by the Indian authorities as a terrorist. RSF has learned that The Kashmir Walla’s lawyers filed a request this morning for Gul’s release on bail.

 

Already in the government’s sights

 

“We call on the judicial authorities in Sumbal to order the immediate release of Sajad Gul, whose only crime is to have tried to inform his fellow citizens about the realities of the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “Detaining him on totally spurious grounds is typical of India’s policy towards Kashmiri journalists, which is to treat any reporting contrary to its short-term interests as ‘anti-national’ in nature.”

 

Vijay Kumar, Kashmir’s inspector general of police, issued a statement after Gul’s arrest  in which he claimed that his video contained “anti-national slogans” and that he was “always in search of anti-government news.”

 

The Kashmir Walla editor Fahad Shah told RSF: “Sajad’s arrest is part of a procedure of stopping journalists from reporting incidents that the government sees as problematic. But if people are angry at the government that doesn’t mean the journalists are inciting them by reporting that anger.”

 

This is not the first time that Gul has been targeted by the Indian government, which has administered Jammu and Kashmir directly since its autonomy was rescinded in August 2019. He (and others) were charged with inciting a riot in February 2021 after reporting the demolition of homes and businesses in a district of Hajin, a town 40 km north of Srinagar that is regarded by the Indian security forces as a hotbed of separatism.

 

India is ranked 142nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index.

Source – https://rsf.org/en/news/india-rsf-calls-release-kashmiri-reporter-held-tweet

Image Credit – Article 14 – RSF

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

AFP launches digital investigation skills training for all journalists

by WAN-IFRA External Contributor info@wan-ifra.org | July 1, 2022 The platform provides 10 training modules of around 45 minutes to one hour, in English and French for now. They...

Shutdown order against Rappler must be revoked immediately

Along with other Hold the Line (HTL) Coalition members, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the historic shutdown order against Rappler approved by the Philippine Securities and...

Twenty-five years after handover to China, Hong Kong press freedom more threatened than ever

A quarter of a century after the handover of British Hong Kong to China, independent journalism has never been so threatened. Reporters Without Borders...

Antonio de la Cruz is the 12th journalist to be murdered in Mexico this year

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled by newspaper reporter Antonio de la Cruz’s murder on 29 June in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the northeastern state of...

Recent Comments