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Global media watchdog condemns arrest of Kashmiri journalist

CJP demands Indian authorities to release Sajad Gul immediately. (Source: Dawn)

SRINAGAR: The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CJP) has expressed concerns over the arrest of journalist Sajad Gul in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

Gul, who has been contributing to various publications, was charged under sedition charges days after he posted a video of his family members protesting against the killing of their relative by the Indian occupation forces in Srinagar.

 

The media watchdog on Saturday said it was “deeply disturbed” by the arrest of Sajad Gul, an independent journalist and media student. It also demanded IIOJK authorities to “immediately release Gul and drop their investigations related to his journalistic work”.

Gul’s family member told The Kashmir Walla that he was detained in an occupation forces’ raid on January 5 and was later handed over to the police.

“He was detained by the Army on Wednesday at 10:00 pm and at around midnight we came to know that he is under police custody,” said Gul’s brother. “Today we were informed that the first investigation report [FIR] has been lodged against him [Sajad Gul],” he added.

A police officer confirmed that a case has been registered against Gul and he is under custody. Meanwhile, the editor-in-chief of The Kashmir Walla, Fahad Shah has also condemned the police action and demanded Gul’s immediate release

Journalists have increasingly voiced concerns about harassment and threats by the police that have effectively restricted reporting after India revoked IoK’s semi-autonomy and divided the region into two federally governed territories in 2019.

Many journalists have been arrested, beaten, harassed and sometimes investigated under anti-terrorism laws.

India’s decision to strip the region of its special powers in August 2019 brought journalism to a near halt in IoK for months. India began implementing a policy in 2020 that gives the government more power to censure independent reporting.  

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