Statement: After bail by Shopian court, Kashmir Walla editor re-arrested in Srinagar case

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The Shopian judicial magistrate today granted bail to Fahad Shah, the founding editor of The Kashmir Walla, on Saturday in the case against the magazine’s reporting in January 2021.

However, yet again, in the evening, his custody was taken over by Srinagar police in a case (FIR 70/2020) against the news magazine’s reporting in May 2020 under sections 147, 307, 109, 501, 505 of Indian Penal Code. This is his third arrest in last one month.

Fahad was arrested on 4 February 2022 by Pulwama police under anti-terror law and sedition charges. He was bailed out by a special court under NIA Act after 22 days of custody, on 26 February. Then he was arrested by Shopian police — and was bailed today.

Granting Fahad bail, Sayeem Qayoom, the Shopian magistrate noted: “In a barbaric society you can hardly ask for bail, in a civilized society you can hardly refuse it. In other words, ‘bail is a rule and its refusal is an exception’.”

Writings of Fahad, the 33-year-old who founded online magazine in 2009, has featured in reputed international publications including Foreign Affairs, TIME, and Foreign Policy. He was awarded the prestigious 25th Human Rights Press Awards 2021 in explanatory feature writing for his coverage of Delhi communal violence in February 2020.

Currently, Fahad is lodged at Safakadal Police Station in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. His legal team would soon move the new bail application in the appropriate court.

The Kashmir Walla team continue to repose the faith in judiciary and the supremacy of law. The team continues to stand strongly behind Fahad and his family in this time of distress as we reiterate our appeal to Manoj Sinha-led Jammu and Kashmir administration for the immediate release of Fahad.

We hope he joins us back in the newsroom soon.

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