NC demands charges against Kashmiri journalist must be revoked

Masrat zahra, kashmir masrat zahra, masrat zahra work
Masrat Zahra, a freelance photojournalist based in Kashmir.

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) has lashed out the government after Jammu and Kashmir Cyber Police booked a female photojournalist under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Masrat Zahra, a professional photojournalist, was booked under the UAPA and IPC-505 for posting “anti-national” content on Facebook on 18 April, the police claimed.

“#JournalismIsNotACrime [and the] Governments should stop treating it like one,” said the JKNC in a tweet. “Invoking #UAPA against Kashmiri photojournalist #MasratZahra is uncalled for, condemnable. A free press makes countries stronger & better. The FIR against her must be revoked.”

The chief spokesperson of the JKNC, Ruhullah Mehdi, also called out the government for its actions. “This ‘Beti Bachawo, Beti Padhao Govt. can’t even stand a young daughter’s expression and her liberty of work,” said Mehdi. “Once you book a journalist and a daughter under PSA [later corrected as UAPA], you should conclude in your own (if there is any) conscience that you are both dictatorial and coward.”

Another NC leader, Imran Nabi Dar, said, “Invoking draconian #UAPA against a young Kashmiri photojournalist Masrat Zahra is worrisome.” He added that the freedom of expression was never so curtailed in Kashmir. “Journalists are the easiest, most frequent targets of such laws invoked arbitrarily. Show some sense and revoke the FIR. In solidarity.”

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