Kashmir: Editor Fahad Shah, author Fazili charge-sheeted in “narrative terrorism” case

Many international press freedom bodies and rights groups have been demanding the immediate release of the Kashmiri Muslim scribe Fahad Shah.

The Jammu and Kashmir State Investigation Agency (SIA) on Thursday filed a charge sheet against prominent journalist and editor Fahad Shah and scholar Aala Fazili in a “narrative terrorism” case, describing the duo as “contaminated and compromised media persons.”

“Their (Shah and Fazili) end objective was to create, sustain, and spread disaffection, hatred, and enmity against the Indian State. Their interim objective was to preserve Pakistani influence by manipulating and playing with facts, subtly or brazenly, by putting information without context or out of context or selective reporting or selective exaggeration or underplaying or muting others, and by craftily and cunningly invoking the legal rights to press freedom and political dissent guaranteed by the very Indian State which they wanted to undermine,” read the statement by SIA.

Shah, the editor of the prominent online magazine Kashmir Walla, and Fazili, a Ph.D. scholar in the department of pharmaceutical sciences at the Kashmir University, have been booked under the Indian Penal Code and the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Shah was arrested on 4 February and later booked under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) on 16 March, even as the courts granted him bail at least two times in two different cases. He is currently at the Kupwara Jail.

Many international press freedom bodies and rights groups have been demanding the immediate release of the Kashmiri Muslim scribe.

Fazili was arrested in April this year for his write-up titled ‘The shackles of slavery will break”, published on 6 November 2011 in Kashmir Walla.

According to the SIA, the duo was charge-sheeted in a case related to “narrative terrorism.” “The accused by a highly provocative and seditious write-up intended to create unrest and aid and abet the gullible youth to take the path of violence,” claimed the probe agency.

“The article was found to be against national integration and supported the claim of secession of a part of the country’s territory, challenged sovereignty and territorial integrity, glorified violence, and advocated and abetted commission of terrorist acts. Shah intentionally conspired with Fazili and published the article, and this led to an increase in terrorism and unlawful activities across J&K,” the SIA added.