Aqsa Javed ( Pakistan )
Wed, Feb 2022
Wed, Feb 2022
On Friday, the 4th of February, Fahad Shah, an internationally renowned journalist based in Kashmir and editor of an independent news platform, TheKashmirWalla, was arrested. Fahad has been previously detained on multiple occasions, in keeping with the general pattern towards journalists in Indian Administered Jammu & Kashmir. Recently, Sajad Gul, a contributor toTheKashmirWalla, continues to be imprisoned despite several calls for his release.
Fahad’s work as a journalist is critically acclaimed, as he is regularly published in Indian and international platforms such as TIME, The Guardian, Christian Science Monitor to name a few. An alum from SOAS, University of London, Fahad has also edited a collection of essays on Kashmir and mentored journalists and scholars globally. Fahad has been detained for doing his job - reporting in J&K. The Police have slapped charges of sedition, the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and intent to incite. Kashmir’s police chief, Vijay Kumar told The Guardian that Fahad has been arrested for frequently glorifying terrorism, spreading fake news, instigating people, for the past three to four years. These charges are misleading and Fahad can be held for a period of upto 6 months without charges under the law and is extremely difficult to get bail under UAPA. We are extremely concerned about Fahad’s safety while in jail.
Organizations around the world such as Committee to Protect Journalists have already issued statements calling for his release along with Media platforms such as The Nation. Fahad has currently been sent to a 10-day custody. Aware of India’s record in Jammu & Kashmir, this custody can be life-threatening for Fahad, who was already unwell at the time of arrest. Further, this act is only a move to intimidate and harass the few remaining journalists who continue to do their work in the region. India’s press freedom ranking has further slipped to 142 in the world along with the rise in highly authoritarian Hindu right-wing tendencies. We call upon the Indian state to immediately release Fahad Shah and other journalists who have been imprisoned for carrying out their duties.
Please demand the immediate release of Fahad Shah and all Kashmiri journalists imprisoned by Indian security forces. Please sign and share this petition before Fahad’s next court hearing (15th February). The Indian state must know that we are paying close attention and we shall not remain silent as they try to silence journalists!
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