Day after Getting Bail, Journalist Sajad Gul Booked Under PSA, Shifted to Kot Bhalwal Jail
‘The officer said that another case was registered against Gul “2/2022 under section 153B, 147, 148, 149, 307 Indian Penal Code”, earlier this month.’
SRINAGAR — A day after the court of Judicial Magistrate Sumbal in north Kashmir granted bail to arrested Kashmiri journalist Sajad Gul, the Jammu and Kashmir police on Sunday evening said that he has been booked under Public Safety Act and shifted to notorious Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu.
On Sunday, a police officer confirmed to Mountain Ink that the journalist has been booked under Public Safety Act.
The officer said that another case was registered against Gul on “2/2022 under section 153B, 147, 148, 149, 307 Indian Penal Code”, earlier this month.
On Saturday, the court had directed police to release Gul against a bond of Rs 30,000.
Pertinently, PSA has been termed a “lawless law” by Amnesty International in which a detainee can be imprisoned without a formal charge, trial, or court hearing for upto two years.
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Gul, who has worked as a contributing writer with Mountain Ink, was arrested last Wednesday after his family said the army raided their house in the Shahgund area of Hajin in north Kashmir. The family said that he was then handed over to the police.
He was picked up from home in Shahgund village in North Kashmir on Wednesday, January 05, 2022, with Police, in its statement on January 8, 2022, admitting that he is in their custody. Police in its statement further alleged that Gul had posted an “objectionable” video on his social media handle.
The Kashmir Press Club had called for the immediate release of Gul, urging authorities to drop all cases against him to allow him to pursue his media education and career in journalism.
In a statement, the Kashmir Press Club had said it was deeply disturbed by the arrest of Sajad Gul, who apart from contributing news reports from his area for an online portal, is presently pursuing Masters in Convergent Journalism from the Central University of Kashmir. The Club urged the authorities to immediately drop the alleged charges against Gul for his journalistic work, adding that the FIR against him is purely aimed at criminalizing the reportage and journalistic work in Kashmir.
While expressing its concern over continuous harassment and threats of legal action against journalists in Kashmir by the police authorities, the Club in its statement said that the threats, summons, and arrests of the media persons have effectively restrained independent and investigative reporting from the region.
While demanding an immediate release and dropping of charges against Gul, the club has further urged the authorities to create a conducive environment for journalists operating in Kashmir, free from threats, summons, and arrests.
Journalist Federation of Kashmir has also condemned the “continued harassment and intimidation of journalists” in Kashmir.
“In the latest instance, an independent journalist & a student of journalism at the Central University of Kashmir, Sajad Ahmad Dar has been booked and arrested by the police citing various charges in the wake of his recent social media activity, where he had uploaded a video of a protest in his locality,” JFK said in a statement.
The statement further read that “it as a tactic to coerce journalists into not reporting facts” on the ground that the authorities are uncomfortable with.
It strongly condemned the “pattern of intimidation” and view it as continued attacks on freedom of the press in Kashmir.
“Journalists in Kashmir have always worked under perilous conditions, holding up values of press freedom in the face of dangers to life and liberty. JFK reiterates the demand that the practice of summoning journalists to police stations should end and cases against journalists are withdrawn immediately, including that of Sajad Gul. Gul should be released immediately. A vibrant media is vital for a democracy to flourish and for that press freedom is of the utmost importance.”
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Mountain Ink is an online & monthly print of narrative journalism that explores stories in compelling narratives, examines events from multiple perspectives and translates complex ideas into authoritative & engaging stories.