Freedom of press not curtailed, says IGP Kashmir

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Srinagar: Inspector General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said, “Before making such broad generalization [of curtailment of press freedom] people should ascertain the facts.”

Earlier this week, Jammu and Kashmir Police booked two more journalists — Masrat Zahra and Gowhar Geelani — for their social media posts, which the police claimed were “prejudicial to national integrity, sovereignty and security of India.” The police had also filed an FIR against a report by Peerzada Ashiq, The Hindu’s Kashmir correspondent.

IGP Kumar stated that “only one journalist has been questioned about a journalistic work as only one FIR of instigating people for violence has been registered over an encounter in Shopian at PS [Police Station] Anantnag.”

He added that the remaining to journalists “have not been booked for any journalistic work… but because of the reason that they have posted explicitly seditious, incendiary and incriminating texts on social media, challenging sovereignty and integrity of India and attempting to instigate people for violence.”

“One of them in the recent days has also met IGP Kashmir along with 3-4 members of Kashmir Press Club Srinagar and accepted the mistake claiming ignorance of the relevant law and assured not to repeat the same in future,” he said. “IGP assured that an impartial investigation will take place.”

“Regarding the other person who has additionally been booked there are written complaints as he has exposed life of some peaceful and law abiding citizens to grave risk by posting incriminating and provocative adjectives against them on social media platforms like FB and Twitter,” the statement quoted Kumar saying. “The content of these specific complaints discloses a criminal act and law will take its course and the written complaints against this individual will be investigated as mandated by law.”

Various rights groups and Kashmir Press Club has called out the harassment of the journalists in Kashmir by the police and demanded the charges to be dropped.

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