Srinagar: A journalist affiliated to the online portal The Kashmir Walla has been arrested by the Indian Army and then handed over to Kashmiri Police over uploading a video which contained 'objectionable' and 'anti-India' slogans according to Kashmir Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar.
Sajad Gul, a native of Hajin, in Bandipora was arrested on January 5 and charged under sections 120B, 153B, and 505B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), The Kashmir Walla said in a statement on its website. It has condemned the arrest of Gul as an assault on media freedom.
"Gul had posted a video of the protest against the killing of Salim Parray, a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander. Parray was killed on January 3 in a gunfight in Harwan, Srinagar. After the killing, minor protests and sloganeering happened in (his native area ) Hajin, in north Kashmir," the organisation said in a report on its website.
This is not the first time Gul has been arrested, as an FIR was filed against him In February 2021 for writing a story on demolition occuring in Hajin.
Inspector Kumar alleged that Gul, under the "garb of journalism", was habitually spreading "disinformation and false narratives" through different social media platforms in order to create "ill will" against the government by provoking general masses to resort to violence and disturb public peace and tranquillity.
"Moreover, his overall activities are prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and unity of India. Accordingly, a case has been registered against him in which he has been arrested and presently is on police remand," the statement added.
Editor of The Kashmir Walla, Fahad Shah has, meanwhile, sought Gul's immediate release. "I strongly condemn this and stress that journalism shouldn't be criminalised. Our legal team is working to seek his earliest release," Shah said in a tweet. Various journalistic organisations in Kashmir have supported the demand, like Kashmir Press Club and Comittee To Protect Journalists which have both expressed fears of violation of press liberty.
Former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti lashed out at the central government in a tweet where she alleged that those who advocated genocide against Muslims were left to roam free while journalists exposing "state-sponsored terrorism" were arrested.
Salim Parray was killed in an encounter with security forces on January 5 in Harwan, Srinagar as part of a week long prepration that has so far eliminated 11 terrorists, from the LeT and from Jaish-e-Mohammed. Parray was the most wanted militant commander, police had said soon after his killing.