The India Journalists Union (IJU) has condemned the actions of the Indian police who searched the residence of four journalists and later questioned them at a police station in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
On Wednesday, The police raided the residents of journalists Hilal Mir, The TRT World Journalist, Shah Abbas, a freelance Journalist, Azhar Qureshi, former editor-in-chief The Narrator and Showkat Matta, and later questioned them in the police station regarding the Kashmirfight Blog, which had been blocked by Indian ministry of Electronics and IT.
The Police in a press note confirmed that the journalists were called in for questioning at Kothibagh, Srinagar and their homes were raided and their electronic gadgets were seized.
The IJU condemned the action of the police and said, “Such intimidation of media in the valley, as well as blocking of sites, must be halted, so that journalists can do their work without fear of reprisal,”
The IJU said that reports has suggested that earlier in July, the police raided several locations in Poonch, Pulwama, and Srinagar and detained people who they claimed to have been working for the blog.
“This after IGP Vijay Kumar is reported as having said that the police had been observing journalists for ‘spreading fake news’. He is quoted as denying that it was an issue of harassing journalists and warning that those involved would be arrested in this case as and when the evidences are collected,” the IJU said.
In a statement, IJU president Geetartha Pathak and secretary-general Sabina Inderjit said that, “while the IGP claims due process of law is being followed while investigating a sensitive case, questioning journalists in police station seems to have become the rule rather than an exception.”
The IJU leadership said that the intimidation by the authorities using the claim that they were ‘spreading fake news’ has become a norm and is being greatly misused. The IJU added that the Journalists Organisations situated in Kashmir had to take up these issues to the Press Council of India as soon as possible.