Kashmiri journalist charged for ‘criminal conspiracy’, arrested

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Srinagar: A Kashmiri journalist has been arrested by the police days after he posted a video of a group of people raising anti-India slogans after the killing of a militant in a gunfight in Srinagar.

Sajad Gul, a journalism student who has been contributing to various publications and had recently joined The Kashmir Walla as a trainee reporter, was charged under 120B (party to criminal conspiracy), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), and 505B (fear or alarm to the public) sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Gul had posted a video of the protest against the killing of Salim Parray, a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander. Parray was killed on 3 January in a gunfight in Harwan, Srinagar. After the killing, minor protests and sloganeering happened in Hajin, in north Kashmir.

Gul, as per a family member who spoke with The Kashmir Walla, was detained in an Army raid on 5 January and was later handed over to the police. 

“He was detained by the Army on Wednesday at 10:00 pm and at around midnight we came to know that he is under police custody,” said Gul’s brother. “Today we were informed that the First Investigation Report [FIR] has been lodged against him [Sajad Gul],” he said.

A police officer confirmed that a case has been registered against Gul and he is under custody.The Senior Superintendent Police Bandipora was unavailable for a comment when The Kashmir Walla reached out.

Meanwhile, the editor-in-chief of The Kashmir Walla, Fahad Shah  condemned the police action and demanded Gul’s immediate release

 “We strongly condemn the action by the police and demand immediate release of him [Gul],” Shah said.

Earlier The Kashmir Walla has faced two other cases over their reporting in which one of the cases is being challenged by the organisation at the High Court.

In February editor-in-chief Fahad Shah and reporter Yashraj Sharma were booked in a case lodged against them for reporting that a religious school in Shopian district was forced by the Army to hold a Republic Day function on January 26.

The Editor was additionally booked for reporting a gunfight in Srinagar in May 2020 and has faced police summons, detention and questioning repeatedly over the last two years.

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