Front Line Defenders condemns police “harassment” of Kashmir journalists during pandemic

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Front Line Defenders an international Human Rights organisation has condemned the police harassment of three Kashmir  journalists who have been booked by the cyber police department of Jammu and Kashmir police.

In a statement the rights organisation has said that “Masrat Zahra, Peerzada Ashiq and Gowhar Geelani, as it believes they are being targeted as a result of their work in defence of human rights and their exercise of the right to freedom of expression,”

Adding that the organisation particularly condemns the use of counter-terror laws (UAPA) against journalists and human rights defenders, with the aim of terrorising them and silencing their work.

“Front Line Defenders is concerned about the particular timing of the police harassment, during the pandemic, when the state must enable the media to report without fear. The Indian State’s treatment of journalists and the curtailing of their fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression, is a matter of grave concern,” it said.

Further adding that these rights are at the core of human rights defenders’ work, and without them, they are unable to effectively carry out their peaceful activities. “Front Line Defenders calls on the Indian authorities to fulfil their international commitments and uphold the right to freedom of expression as well as other fundamental rights and freedoms in Kashmir, which are enshrined in the Constitution of India,” the statement concludes.

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