J&K police re-arrests scribe Asif Sultan

Asif Sultan, recently released after 5.5 years in UP prison, faces re-arrest in Srinagar under UAPA, sparking concerns over freedom of press in Kashmir

Srinagar: Kashmiri journalist Asif Sultan was arrested by the Srinagar police in an old case on Thursday evening, days after he had been released from an Uttar Pradesh prison after remaining incarcerated for five and a half years.

Asif’s parents said that he was brought back to his home in Srinagar’s Batamaloo area early Wednesday morning after being released from UP’s Ambedkar Nagar district jail. But later during the day, Asif was summoned to Srinagar’s Rainawari Police Station and subsequently re-arrested in a case registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 in 2018. “We are consulting lawyers to see if we can move the court to get him released on bail,” a family friend said.

Asif, then 32-years-old, was arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police in August 2018 after accusing him of "glorifying" Hizb-ul-Mujahideen's slain commander Burhan Wani in one of his write-ups appearing in a local periodical. He was later also charged with "harnessing known terrorists, criminal conspiracy and aiding and participating in terrorist activities" and subsequently booked under the relevant provisions of the UAPA and the Indian Penal Code (then the Ranbir Penal Code).

In April 2022, the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh High Court granted him bail in the case on the grounds that investigative agencies “failed to establish his links with any terrorist group”. However, days later Srinagar’s District Magistrate while acting on the police’s recommendation booked him under J&K’s tough law the Public Safety Act (PSA). Under the PSA a person can be detained without seeking formal trial for a period of three months to two years.

On December 11, 2023, the high court quashed his preventive detention, terming it “illegal” and the allegations against him as “unsustainable.” The court ordered for his release “if he is not required in any other case". However, he continued to remain in jail awaiting “clearance letters” from J&K’s home department and the Srinagar district magistrate.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
Next Story