Two more journalists detained in Kashmir; police say for ‘investigation’

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The detention of journalists continues in Kashmir as two more scribes have been picked by the police in the past two days.

Since Sunday, journalists that have been summoned by the police include photojournalists Junaid Peer from North Kashmir’s Sopore district and Sulaiman Sath from Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.

Junaid Peer works as a photo-journalist with Urdu newspaper Tameel-i-Irshad, while Sulaiman is associated with Urdu newspaper Daily Gadyal as a freelancer.

Talking with The Kashmir Walla, Adnan Shafi Peer, brother of Junaid, said that it was around 10:45 pm on Monday when the government forces cordoned the area and picked up Junaid from his home.

“We don’t know why he has been detained,” said Peer. “We tried to reason with the police officials about his arrest but they have not given us any answer so far.”

Peer said that his brother is currently locked up at SDPO town hall in Sopore, “and the family is yet to meet him.”

“My father is at Sopore police station and I am at SDPO office. Since last night we have been running from pillar to post, but nobody is telling us anything about my brother’s arrest,” Peer said.

The Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Sopore, Furqan Qadir without divulging much information about the nature of Junaid’s detention told The Kashmir Walla that he has been called for investigation.

“He has not been arrested,” said Qadir. “He is here for an investigation. Once the investigation is complete we will be able to provide you [media] more information.”

In North Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, the police arrested photo-journalist Sulaiman Sath on Sunday night from his home.

Abdul Majid Bhat, Sulaiman’s father, told The Kashmir Walla that it was around 7:50 pm on Sunday when police barged into their house and arrested his son.

“It has been two days since my son has been arrested. And I am yet to find the reason for his arrest,” Bhat said.

Bhat added that soon after Sulaiman’s detention he visited Shadipora police station but was told to reach out to Ganderbal police station.

“Yesterday, I visited Ganderbal police station but was not allowed to meet my son. Now, I am planning to visit again today,” he said.

The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ganderbal, Nikhil Borkar told The Kashmir Walla that by tonight, the police would come with the reason for his detention.

“We will let you [media] know by tonight about his detention,” said Borkar, without making any further comments on the matter.

Earlier, this month five journalists were summoned or detained by the police administration in the valley. Journalists that were summoned or detained by the police and different investigative agencies were photojournalist Mukhtar Zahoor, editor Salman Shah, freelance journalist Suhail Dar, freelance journalist Sajad Gul and senior journalist Majid Hyderi.

Shah and Dar have been booked under 107 and 151 Indian Penal Code (IPC) and are currently lodged at district jail in Anantnag.

Post August 5, 2019, after the Government of India (GoI) directly took control of Jammu and Kashmir by revoking its special status, as many as 50 journalists have been arrested, raided, barred from travelling while formal cases were registered against them.

After taking suo-motu cognisance on the communication of former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti about the intimidation and harassment of journalists, the three member fact finding committee of PCI arrived in Kashmir last week on a three day visit and interact with media fraternity to make a thorough probe into the allegations of harassment against the journalists into the hands of the authorities.

The members of the committee – Prakash Dubey, Convener and Group editor, Dainik Bhaskar, Gurbir Singh, Journalist, the New Indian Express and Dr. Suman Gupta, Editor, Jan Morcha – also held discussion with the concerned authorities and delegations of journalists.

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