Srinagar: The National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday condemned the police summoning of The Kashmir Walla editor Fahad Shah over his reportage on the Srinagar gunfight.
Police issued summons to Mr. Shah, ordering him to present himself for questioning in connection with the stories that Kashmir Walla published while covering the gunfight in Nawakadal neighbourhood of downtown Srinagar on 19 May 2020 in which two militants were killed and 19 residential houses were damaged.
On 9 July 2020, The Kashmir Walla’s editor received a formal summon from Safakadal police station saying that “your presence is necessary for the purpose of enquiry into the offence committed under section 147, 307, 109, 501, 505 IPC,”
Reacting to the news, PDP while taking to their Twitter handle said, “Third such summon. This constant scheme of intimidation only goes to establish the pattern of muzzling the vocal voices in media. Why is administration scared of journalists when everything was supposed to be better post August 5?”
In another tweet, the party said, “Browbeating kashmiri media into submission is something which is not ingrained in our professional journalists. Do not stifle the voices of reason. Journalism is not a crime,”
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir’s largest party NC also condemned the development, the party chief spokesperson Ruhullah Mehdi said that the intimidation was unacceptable , “I restate, intimidating journalist is an act that reflects autocratic weakling of an authourty. This refutes the claims of democratic functioning of a Govt. Press/media and journalists are a very important constituents of a healthy democracy. This intimidation is unacceptable,” Mr. Mehdi tweeted.
Earlier also, Mr. Shah was questioned on 20 May 2020 for over four hours by senior officials of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, who alleged that our coverage of the gunfight at Nawakadal had “defamed” the police. At that time, Kashmir Walla editor explained to the police officers that the coverage was based on undisputed facts, eyewitness accounts, interviews of the civilian population, and also the police. These facts were also documented on video. After that 4 hour long questioning by senior police officers, Kashmir Walla editor was allowed to go.