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India arrests prominent Kashmir journalist

SRINAGAR, INDIA (AFP) – A prominent journalist in Indian-administered Kashmir has been arrested by police and accused of “glorifying terrorism” and “spreading fake news” in the disputed territory, where a running press crackdown has intensified.

Editor of Kashmir Walla news portal Fahad Shah had already been questioned several times for his reporting by officers in recent years.

He had been arrested for “glorifying terrorism, spreading fake news and inciting general public”, Kashmir police said yesterday.

A police statement that followed his arrest the day before added that Shah’s Facebook posts had dented “the image of enforcing agencies”.

The Committee to Protect Journalists demanded Shah’s release and called on Indian authorities to respect press freedom in Kashmir.

Shah’s arrest demonstrated “authorities’ utter disregard for press freedom and the fundamental right of journalists to report freely and safely”, Steven Butler of the Washington-based watchdog said.

Dozens of journalists in Indian-controlled Kashmir have regularly been summoned by police and questioned on their work since 2019, when New Delhi revoked the territory’s partial autonomy and brought it under direct rule. They have also been increasingly subject to harassment, arrests, raids and prosecution on “terrorism” related charges.

Editor-in-Chief of ‘Kashmir Walla’ Fahad Shah in a meeting with journalists in Srinagar. PHOTO: AP

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