Fahad Shah, editor-in-chief of the online news magazine ‘thekashmirwalla’ was arrested on Friday, February 4, 2022, for social media posts, which Kashmir police claimed glorified terrorist activities and caused “dent to the image of law enforcing agencies besides causing ill-will and disaffection against the country”.
Shah was summoned for questioning by a police station in the southern Kashmiri city of Pulwama, on February 4. He was called to record his statement after which the police issued a statement confirming his arrest. The statement released by Pulwama police stated that “Some Facebook users and portals have been uploading anti-national content, including photographs, videos and posts with criminal intention to create fear among public and the content so uploaded can provoke the public to disturb law & order.”
Last month, Sajad Gul, a trainee reporter with thekashmirwalla, was also arrested for posting tweets allegedly aimed at “provoking the people against Govt and to spread animosity.” Shah has also repeatedly advocated for the release of Sajad Gul on his Twitter account, where he has about 55,000 followers.
Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ)’s Asia program coordinator, Steve Butler, condeming the arrest of Shah said “The arrest of Fahad Shah shows Jammu and Kashmir authorities’ utter disregard for press freedom and the fundamental right of journalists to report freely and safely.” Condeming the arrest, former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted,
“Standing up for the truth is deemed anti-national. Showing the mirror to a deeply intolerant & authoritarian government is also anti-national. Fahad’s journalistic work speaks for itself & depicts the ground reality unpalatable to GOI. How many Fahads will you arrest?”