CPJ, rights groups, publications call for release of Fahad Shah

Committee to Protect Journalists along with 58 other press freedom organisations on Monday wrote a letter to the Lt. Governor of Jammu and Kashmir asking for the immediate release of Fahad Shah and other journalists.

Fahad Shah, the editor of the online news portal The Kashmir Walla, was arrested on 04 February, at the Pulwama police station, where he had been summoned for questioning. The first information report states that Shah is being investigated for alleged sedition and making statements causing public mischief, and unlawful activities under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Prior to his arrest, police had questioned Shah regarding The Kashmir Walla’s coverage of a gunfight between government forces and militants.

CPJ and others also urged for the immediate release of Sajad Gul, Aasif Sultan, and Manan Gular Dar, other journalists jailed under anti-terror or preventative detention laws.

The signatories accused the government of political vendetta and reprisal and exhorted them to drop “retaliatory measures.”

“The release of Fahad Shah and other arbitrarily detained journalists is a critical step to prevent further criminalization of the profession in Jammu and Kashmir,’’ the letter reads.

Ambedkar King Study Circle, Boston South Asian Coalition (BSAC), Committee Against Assault on Journalists (CAAJ), Friends of India, Texas, German Indian Alliance for Peace are some among the signatories of the letter.