Booked under UAPA, Kashmiri journalist Gowhar Geelani’s case in High Court today

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Srinagar: Two days after Gowhar Geelani, a Kashmir-based journalist and author was booked under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA),  the Jammu and Kashmir High Court will be hearing his petition via video conferencing.

Geelani’s counsel, Salih Peerzada, has seeked interim protection from arrest and quashing of the FIR, The Indian Express reported. “The respondent has no jurisdiction to investigate the offences beyond the purview of the Information Technology Act, 2000,” the petitioner argued. “There is no genesis or manner of the commissions of alleged offences mentioned in the FIR, as such, the initiation of persecution being in abuse of process of law can’t be allowed to sustain. The registration of impugned FIR emanates from misuse of police powers, as such liable to be quashed.”

Also Read: Kashmir’s press was battered. Then came UAPA.

This week, J-K cyber police booked two journalists — Geelani and Masrat Zahra — for their social media posts, which the police claimed were “prejudicial to national integrity, sovereignty and security of India.”

The case is coming up for hearing before Justice Ali Mohammad Magray. The petitioner has challenged the FIR and investigation on the grounds that “the contents of the FIR do not constitute the offence alleged”.

“The anatomy of FIR shows a skeletal formation without the particulars about the date, period or place of offence as required by the format of the FIR,” the petitioner argued. “Such visible omissions are deliberate and originate as a result of police padding which create incurable infirmity in the initiation of prosecution.”

In his petition, the counsel has argued that mere expression of opinion of political or apolitical on a public forum doesn’t ipso facto constitute an offence.

Yesterday, Geelani said in his statement: “During my professional career spanning over 15 years I have been writing stories of the marginalised and the dispossessed, the powerful and the powerless — all kinds of stories, the tragedies and triumphs… It is a badge of honour for a journalist when the dispossessed love your body of work and the powerful dislike it.”

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