Three days after Kashmiri author and journalist Gowhar Geelani was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on the charge of ‘glorifying terrorism in the Valley’, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday (April 24) accepted his petition and directed the police to file a report by May 20.
In his petition, Geelani had sought quashing of an FIR registered against him. He had also challenged that the Cyber Police Station of the Kashmir zone had no jurisdiction to file a case under the UAPA and sought interim relief from any coercive action. Geelani was booked on April 21 over his alleged social media posts.
Geelani is the second journalist to be booked under UAPA in the recent past. Earlier this week, the police slapped the Act against 26-year-old photojournalist Masrat Zahra on charges of uploading “anti-national posts” on Facebook. The police also summoned another journalist, Peerzada Ashiq from The Hindu, charging that facts in his story were inaccurate.
Meanwhile, the Press Club of India condemned the act of the J&K police. It has demanded that “the Governor’s administration devise open and transparent norms to address perceived questions relating to journalists’ posts on social media. Currently, it is all too easy to treat criticism as an anti-national activity intended to comfort the enemy.”