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The Scribe’s Story: ‘We Were Told Not To Let Him Do Such Stories’

The Scribe’s Story: ‘We Were Told Not To Let Him Do Such Stories’

“He just quoted the family. He didn’t write anything on his own. They should better kill my son in front of my eyes, than make his life hell like this forever!”


Sajad Gul faced the raid he feared on 4 January 2022 soon after dusk fell over his hometown Shahgund in north Kashmir’s Sonawari belt. 

The untimely knocks at the main door made it certain that the “inevitable” has happened. But his mother and sister-in-law delayed it for the night. 

The raiding party returned from the gate after his mother shouted from inside: “We’re just two ladies inside and can’t open the gate.”

Some 24 hours later, at 9:50 pm, when Sajad Gul was preparing to sleep, the knocks reappeared on the gate. His name was called out and he picked his phone to open the gate. 

Outside, his family recalled, Indian Army men were waiting for him. He was swiftly taken away.

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“I called him for about an hour, but there was no response,” Zahoor Ahmad, Sajad’s brother, told Mountain Ink. 

“At around 11:30 pm, he responded to the call saying he’s in Police Station Sumbal.” 

Next day, Zahoor along with kin went to the police station and saw Sajad being taken to hospital. 

“I went to meet him in the hospital,” Zahoor said. “I took off my clothes and gave them to him. He was not wearing enough clothes at the time of detention.” 

He Anticipated His Arrest
Sajad had anticipated his arrest in the recent story done by Article 14 on him. 

Among other things, this young scribe pursuing Masters in Journalism from the Central University of Kashmir was quoted as saying: “I sleep with my clothes on, I keep my shoes beside my bed. I do not know when they will raid our house again and take me away.” 

At the police station, Zahoor said, the family was told that their captive son was doing “wrong stories”.

On January 3, 2022, Sajad had posted a video on his Twitter handle. The video, in which women were seen shouting slogans against the killing of JeM commander, Salim Parray, got viral.

“We came to know yesterday only that FIR has been lodged against him and that he’s being charged with unacceptable charges,” Zahoor said.

Last year, on June 3, the UN letter to the Indian government noted an FIR against Sajad Gul, when he reported about a demolition drive in his hometown.

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Police then said that Sajad manhandled an official on duty when he was not even in the area that day,” Zahoor said. “He was in university attending his classes as usual. Without any investigation, they (police) charged him.”

Arrested For ‘Anti-National’ Activities 
However, JK Police justified his arrest saying he was tweeting “fake news”. 

“He is always in search of anti-government news and uploads tweets, which are not based on facts in order to provoke the people against the government and to spread enmity against the nation among people,” Police said, stating that case under FIR number 12/ 2021, under Section 147, 447, 336, 353/IPC stands registered against Sajad and the final charge-sheet against him has been produced before the court of JMIC Sumbal for judicial determination.

“Gul was also involved in spreading disinformation campaign through fake tweets/narratives regarding the recent anti-militancy operation in Gundjahangeer in which an alleged local militant Imtiyaz Ahmad was killed.”

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Online Support
Meanwhile, Sajad’s arrest has triggered online solidarity and support with media, student and political bodies demanding his immediate release. 

“CPJ is deeply disturbed by reports that Kashmiri journalist, Sajad Gul was arrested days after posting a video of a protest on social media. Authorities must immediately release Gul and drop their investigations related to his journalistic work,” the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists tweeted.

“AISA stands in solidarity with Sajad Gul!” tweeted the All India Students’ Association.

“Immediately release Sajad Gul, a Kashmiri independent journalist and media student! Withdraw all fabricated cases against him! End the repression against media and activists in #Kashmir!” Communist Party of India tweeted.

A Visit Before the Raid
At her home, Sajad’s anxious mother is unable to make sense of the charges slapped on her son.

“Police came to us a few months back when Sajad had done a story on a neighbour killed in an encounter. We were told not to let him do such stories,” Sajad’s mother told MI.

“But then he just quoted the family. He didn’t write anything on his own. They should better kill my son in front of my eyes, than make his life hell like this forever!”

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