Saturday, December 9, 2023

Kashmiri journalist Fahad Shah completes one year in jail

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Fahad Shah, prominent Kashmiri young journalist and editor of The Kashmir Walla has completed one year in jail under draconian charges on 4 February, 2023.

Shah was arrested on 4 February last year, after he reported on a deadly police raid in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Jammu and Kashmir accused him of “uploading ant-national content” on Facebook. The Kashmir Zone Police had accused Shah of “glorifying terrorism, spreading fake news & inciting general public” in three separate first information reports (FIR), arresting him under FIR 19/2022 of Pulwama.

Shah was reportedly charged with public mischief (Sec. 505 IPC), sedition (Sec. 124A IPC), and engaging in unlawful activities (Sec. 13 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)) in FIR 19/2020.

22 days after his arrest, on 26 February, 2022, Shah was granted bail but was arrested again hours later in relation to FIR 06/2021 of Imamsahib, Shopian. He was charged with “wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot” (Sec. 153 IPC) and public mischief (Sec. 505 IPC).

On 6 March, 2022, Shah was granted bail but was arrested again hours later in relation to FIR 70/2020 of Safakadal Srinagar. He was charged with rioting (Sec. 147 IPC), attempted murder (Sec. 307 IPC), abetment (Sec. 109 IPC), “printing or engraving defamatory matter” (Sec. 501 IPC), and public mischief (Sec. 505 IPC).

On 12 March, 2022, the authorities dropped the rioting, attempted murder, and abetment charges against Shah. However, authorities also pressed additional charges against Shah under UAPA and the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act.

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

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