TWO DAYS after slapping the UAPA against a photographer and lodging an open FIR over a report in a national daily, the J&K Police on Tuesday filed a case against journalist and author Gowhar Geelani for his “posts and writings” on social media, calling them “prejudicial to the national integrity, sovereignty and security of India”.
While silent on the charges against him, police accused the Srinagar-based Geelani, whom it did not identify as a journalist, of “unlawful activities” and “glorifying terrorism in Kashmir” that could lead to offences against the “security of (the) State”.
Geelani said, “It is sad that an ugly pattern of hounding and silencing journalists in Kashmir has intensified since last August. As a journalist for over 15 years, I have reported various facets of the Kashmir conflict, American and German elections and economic recession of 2007. Also as a published author my body of work is there for everyone to see.”
Author of Kashmir — Rage and Reason, Geelani is a feelancer, who previously worked with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
Masrat Zahra, the photographer facing charges under the stringent UAPA over her social media posts, appeared before police on Tuesday and was later allowed to leave.
In an indication that she had received some sort of assurance, she later told her lawyer not to pursue the petition she had filed in the Supreme Court on the matter. On Tuesday evening, the Editors Guild of India issued a statement calling for dropping of the UAPA charge against Zahra and the action against The Hindu’s Srinagar correspondent Peerzada Ashiq.
“Any recourse to such laws for merely publishing something in the mainstream or social media is a gross misuse of power. Its only purpose can be to strike terror into journalists. The Guild also believes that this is an indirect way of intimidating journalists in the rest of the country… Mere social media posts of factual pictures can’t attract toughest anti-terror laws,” read the statement.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines