Handwara scribe accuses police of assault, father detained



Photograph Credit: Twitter

Srinagar: A freelance journalist alleged that the Jammu and Kashmir police beat him up and arrested his father on Wednesday in Handwara, north Kashmir, after the scribe had called out the usage of “disgusting language” by the Station House Officer of Villagam police station.

Gowhar Ali Wani, a 21-year-old freelancer, told The Kashmir Walla, “Today, two policemen in civvies came to my house at about 5 pm and asked me to come with them. When I asked, ‘Why?’, they slapped me and assaulted in return.”

Earlier on Tuesday, as Mr. Wani alleged, his father was stopped by the local police officer and had threatened him of arresting Mr. Wani “if he continues to film and [click] photograph [of] incidents from there.”

Following this, Mr. Wani had written on his Twitter handle about the incident. “My father who was stopped by S.H.O villagam yesterday at dolipora. While using the rude language ‘Temes nechyes venzy camrea heat eazy ne phera nat Karen bea arrest Patt Baras marzewagan’ [Tell your son not to roam around with camera, I will arrest him and put chillies in him]. Such a disgusting language used by S.H.O villagam. If showing reality is [a] crime then sorry,” he wrote.

Today, he said, the police personnel came and assaulted him at his residence. “Also they pushed and broke my sister’s phone after she filmed them [policemen] assaulting me,” he added. Later, he again tweeted, “#IamAjournalist #NotAcrimnal”.

He also added that his father was taken from the residence and is currently in detention at the police station.

Sulaiman Khan, Station House Officer, Vilgaam, told The Kashmir Walla that the police has been asking him [Mr. Wani] to come to the police station. “I can’t divulge details of the matter until he is present here. You can speak to our senior officers for anything further,” he said.


Kashmir needs independent journalism…

…now, more than ever to give a voice to the voiceless. The press in Kashmir has operated under tremendous pressures of reporting from a conflict zone but since August 2019 we find ourselves in unchartered territory. The Kashmir Walla is among the oldest independent media outlets in Kashmir and has withstood successive lockdowns as well as attempts to suppress us, fighting back with authoritative ground reports based on facts.

We believe in making the powers that be accountable to their actions but to also hold the mirror to the society. We believe in covering all sides of the story and that empowerment in essence means the ability to make informed decisions. As such we have not allowed our journalism to be influenced by the pressures.

Despite the new and still unknown pressures, we are all the more committed to keep informing you of events and stories that matter. Our recent coverage of events has brought us an increased readership. However, the coronavirus pandemic and resultant economic crisis has affected our operational capabilities. We are facing an existential threat but only your support can help us withstand this and maintain our editorial independence.

We need your solidarity to keep our journalism going. Your contribution will empower us to keep you informed on stories that matter from Kashmir. Show your solidarity by joining our members community. Kashmir thanks you.