The J&K Police have invoked the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against a woman photojournalist in Kashmir for allegedly uploading “anti-national posts” on her social media accounts.
A statement issued by J-K Police said on Monday they have registered a case against Masrat Zahra under section of 13 UA(P) Act and 505-IPC in Cyber Police Station, Kashmir Zone.
Zahra, 26, a freelance photojournalist, is contributing to various international news organisations and has been published in Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Caravan and many other publications.
“Cyber Police Station received information through reliable sources that one Facebook user namely “Masrat Zahra” is uploading anti-national posts with criminal intention to induce the youth and to promote offences against public tranquillity,” a statement issued by the J-K Police said on Monday.
“The Facebook user is also believed to be uploading photographs which can provoke the public to disturb law and order. The user is also uploading posts that tantamount to glorify the anti-national activities and dent the image of law enforcing agencies besides causing disaffection against the country.”
Zahra is the second journalist in Kashmir who has been booked under UAPA. Earlier, Srinagar based journalist Asif Sultan was also booked under the same act for allegedly providing logistical support to a banned militant organisation. He continues to remain in detention.
Sources told The Indian Express that Zahra was initially contacted by Cyber Cell of J-K Police on Saturday evening and she was asked to appear before the police immediately. However, after Kashmir Press Club and the J-K’s Directorate of Information intervened in the matter, she was informed that “matter has been sorted now”.
Zahra told The Indian Express that she has not been informed officially that a case has been registered against her. “My colleagues told me about it (case),” she said.
Slapping UAPA an anti terrorism law against Masrat Zahra a female journalist for merely representing a contrarian view is a manifestation of the urge to control the tone & tempo of the conversation in & on Kashmir.
— J&K PDP (@jkpdp) April 20, 2020
Kashmir Press Club has condemned registering of case against the photojournalist. “This is unfortunate that authorities are hounding the journalist for their work. The KPC is coming up with a detailed response,” Kashmir Press Club General Secretary Ishfaq Tantry told The Indian Express.