Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Amnesty International India denounces arrest of Kashmiri journalist Irfan Mehraj

Aakar Patel, the chair of the board at Amnesty International India, denounced the detention of Kashmiri journalist Irfan Mehraj by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Srinagar on allegations of “terror funding,” calling it a gross injustice.

Aakar Patel, the chair of the board at Amnesty International India, denounced the detention of Kashmiri journalist Irfan Mehraj by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Srinagar on allegations of “terror funding,” calling it a gross injustice.

Patel went on to assert that this arrest is just one more example of the persistent violation of human rights, curtailment of media liberties, and oppression of civil society in the Jammu and Kashmir region.

He further stated that the suppression of freedom of speech and association remains unchecked in Kashmir.

Irfan is the founding editor of Wande Magazine and now works as a senior editor at TwoCircles.net. He has contributed to leading news publications like The Indian Express, Al Jazeera, Himal Southasian, DW, and TRT World.

NIA has claimed Mehraj is its first arrest in the ‘NGO-terror funding case’. Incarcerated Kashmir human rights activist Khurram Parvez is also an accused in the same case.

“Human rights defenders such as Irfan Mehraj should be encouraged and protected, not persecuted. He must be immediately released. The repression must stop. Criminalization of legitimate human rights work is extremely alarming and the authorities must put an end to this immediately,” Patel said.

“Indian authorities should prioritize ending impunity for the human rights violations that human rights defenders and journalists have bravely documented and exposed, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, and ensure that human rights defenders and activists can work in a safe and enabling environment without any fear of reprisals,” he added.

The case has been filed under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (inciting disaffection towards government through words, signs, etc. of Indian Penal Code and 17 (fund raising for terror activities), 18 (conspiracy to commit terror act), 22A & 22C (relating to offences committed by registered companies), 38 (offence relating to membership of a terrorist organisation), 39 (supporting terrorist organisation) and 40 (raising funds for terrorist organisation) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Many journalists, rights groups and Kashmiri politicians took to social media to raise their concerns and demand the immediate release of the Kashmiri scribe.

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