Kashmiri PhD Scholar arrested under UAPA for 11-year-old article

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The Jammu and Kashmir Police’s State Investigation Agency (SIA) arrested a PhD student under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on Sunday for an article he wrote for the online magazine The Kashmir Walla in 2011.

The SIA said that the article was “highly provocative, seditious, and intended to create unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.”

Abdul Aala Fazili, 39, is currently pursuing his doctoral studies in pharmaceutical sciences at Kashmir University and was scheduled to get married next month. 

In its recent statement, SIA said that the article titled ‘The Shackles of slavery will break’ is “highly provocative, seditious and intended to create unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, written with the purpose of abetting the youth to take the path of violence by glorifying terrorism.”

It further said, “the write-up prompted and propagated the false narrative, which is essential to sustain secessionist cum terrorist campaign aimed at breaking the territorial integrity of India.”

Fazili was a recipient of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Maulana Azad National Fellowship for five years till March 2021. Regarding the fellowship, SIA’s statement further mentioned that the “Government of India paid him Rs 30,000 per month for five years till March 2021 through UGC MANF (Maulana Azad National Fellowship) so that he can sustain himself and complete his PhD.”

On Sunday, SIA raided the houses of Fazili and Fahad Shah, the editor-in-chief of The Kashmir Walla who is in jail since 04 February and subsequently the magazine’s office in the Rajbagh area of Srinagar. The raids were reportedly in connection with the First Information Report (FIR) filed against Fazili for his article and Shah.

Shah was initially arrested for a report on his website regarding a gunfight in south Kashmir which quoted the family members saying that their son who was killed in an encounter was not a militant. After receiving his second bail, Shah was re-arrested under Public Safety Act (PSA) on March 14. 

In a recent statement, The Kashmir Walla team said the raid was conducted under a search warrant, issued by Additional Sessions Judge, Jammu, dated 13 April 2022. The search warrant, given to The Kashmir Walla and Shah’s family, was under FIR number 01/2022under the Indian Penal Code’s sections 120B, 121, 153-B, and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act’s sections 13 and 18, registered at JIC, SIA, Jammu. 

As per the statement, the officials seized the laptops of two reporters, and a Mac from the multimedia department, six hard drives that had backups, and five CDs. The team condemned the seizure of reporters’ gadgets and other equipment at the office and Shah’s residence.