J&K news portal editor arrested for 'anti-national' content
Deccan Chronicle.| Yusuf Jameel
Shah denied the allegation and asserted that he was discharging his responsibility as an independent journalist
Shah denied the allegation and asserted that he was discharging his responsibility as an independent journalist (Representational image: PTI)
SRINAGAR: Fahad Shah, editor and owner of news portal The Kashmir Walla, was arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police on Friday for his publishing 'anti-national' content which, it said, could also instigate people for violence.
Shah had while speaking to this newspaper earlier this week denied the allegation and asserted that he was discharging his responsibility as an independent journalist for which he had been summoned to police stations several times in the past.
A statement issued by the police here on Friday evening said that some Facebook users and portals have been uploading anti-national content including photographs, videos and posts with criminal intention to create fear among public and could also provoke the public to disturb law and order.
"It was also learnt that these Facebook users are uploading such posts which tantamount to glorifying the terrorist activities and causing dent to the image of law enforcing agencies besides causing ill-will and disaffection against the country" , the statement read.
It said that the police in southern Pulwama district took cognizance of these activities and registered an FIR under relevant sections of the law and initiated the investigation. It further said that during the course of investigation, one of the accused person Shah was arrested and was now on police remand.
Earlier on Monday, Shah and three others journalists were summoned to a police station in Pulwama over propagation of statements of a local family claiming that one of its young members killed in a gunfight a day ago was not a militant.
The police and Army officials had said on Sunday that one of the four Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants killed in a gunfight with security forces in Pulwama’s Naira village was Inayat Ahmed, the son of the owner of a private house where the clash took place.
They had also said that while taking on the hiding militants Ahmed was asked to surrender "but he along with other terrorists opened fire at the security forces and got killed". Inspector General of Police, Vijay Kumar, had said that Ahmed was a "hybrid terrorist." He had also said that the house-owner was being booked under the relevant sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 for providing shelter to militants.
The family had refuted the police claim and insisted on Ahmed not being a militant or associated with JeM or any other militant outfit. A video in which his sister pleads his innocence went viral on social media on Monday itself.
Late on that evening, the Pulwama police issued summons to Shah, another prominent journalist and political commentator Majid Hyderi and two local reporters in connection with the case registered under Sections 307 IPC and 7/25 IA Act and Sections 16, 18,20 and 38 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 following the gunfight at Naira.
The police sources had said that the journalists were summoned to the police station for their "incorrect reporting" of the clash. They said that the summons were issued by the area Station House Officer under section 160 of the CrPC which empowers a police officer investigating a case to require attendance of witnesses. The summons read, "It appears that you are acquainted with the circumstances of FIR and your presence is necessary to give such information as you may possess relating to FIR for the finalization of the investigation and arrest of the accused person."
Shah had told this newspaper that The Kashmir Walla had published stories on the encounter as well as the statements of the police and the family on it and had also reported on the viral video of the slain youth’s sister. He had said that he would visit the police station on Wednesday.
Hyderi had said that he reported to the police station earlier during the day on Monday where he was asked about his sharing the girl’s video on social media. "I told the officer that we are journalists of a conflict zone stuck between the devil and the deep sea and as such have to report and share varied versions of a story," he had said.