The Jammu and Kashmir police on Thursday (April 23) defended filing of cases against three journalists in the valley saying two of them have been booked for making seditious and incendiary comments on social media.
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar, reacting to journalist bodies’ criticism of the police action, said before making broad generalisations like freedom of press is being curtailed, people should ascertain the facts.
“Only one journalist has been questioned about a journalistic work as only one FIR of instigating people for violence has been registered over an encounter in Shopian at Police Station Anantnag,” Kumar said.
“Remaining two persons have not been booked for any of their journalistic works but because of the reason that they have posted explicitly seditious, incendiary and incriminating texts on social media, challenging sovereignty and integrity of India and attempting to instigate people for violence,” he added.
Three journalists — The Hindu correspondent Peerzada Ashiq, freelance journalist Gowhar Geelani and photojournalist Masrat Zehra — have been booked by police.
Ashiq has been booked for his follow up report on the Shopian encounter in which two militants were killed.
“One of them in the recent days had also met IGP Kashmir along with 3-4 members of the Kashmir Press Club, Srinagar and accepted the mistake claiming ignorance of the relevant laws and assured not to repeat the same in future,” he said.
Without naming any of the three journalists, Kumar said there are written complaints against one of them as he has exposed the life of some peaceful and law-abiding citizens to grave risk by posting incriminating and provocative adjectives against them on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
“The content of these specific complaints discloses a criminal act and law will take its course and the written complaints against this individual will be investigated as mandated by law,” he added.
The IGP said J&K Police has “always maintained highest regard for the freedom of press. Media persons and other relevant organisations are expected to issue statements only after ascertaining the facts.”
While Jammu and Kashmir police filed an FIR against Ashiq, on charges of spreading fake news over a report on ‘exhumation’ of the bodies of two slain militants, 26-year-old Zehra on Sunday (April 20) was booked under UAPA for her social media posts which the police said was “anti-national” in nature.
(With inputs from agencies)