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Journalist among 10 charge-sheeted in terror case

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police have filed a chargesheet against ten accused, including journalist Asif Sultan for allegedly giving shelter to militants who killed a police constable in a shootout in Batamaloo area August last year.

A Police spokesman in a statement issued today said that Srinagar Police submitted the charge sheet in respect of case FIR No 173/2018 of P/S Batamaloo.

“The FIR pertains to the incident dated 12-08-2018 wherein militants hiding in a residence at Diyarwani, Batamalo, Srinagar fled away from the spot after indiscriminately firing at Police party wherein one police personnel SgCt. Parvaiz Ahmad was killed,” said police spokesman in the statement.

“After the conclusion of the investigation, the chargesheet has been filed before the competent Court by Srinagar Police  U/S 120-B read with 34, 302,307,326, RPC, 7/27 IA Act ,16,18,19,20,38 & 39 of ULA(P) Act and substantive offences thereof subsequent to obtaining necessary Government sanction for prosecution under ULA(P)Act,” said the spokesman.

“The chargesheet has been filed against ten accused including Mohammed Shafeeq Bhat R/o Diyarwani, Batamaloo; Waseem Khan R/o Diyarwani, Batamaloo; Bilal Ahmad Bhat  R/o Kund Qazigund; Shazia Yaqoob alias Pari R/o Kamad Anantnag and Asif Sultan  R/o Firdousabad, Batamaloo for their role in hatching criminal conspiracy for militant act, harbouring militants and giving support to the prescribed militant organisation besides substantive offences of law as mentioned above,” said police spokesman in a statement.

Three absconding, active militants of Hizbul Mujahideen -- Abbas Sheikh, Aqib Nazir and Tehseen Ahmed – too have been named in the charge sheet.

The charge sheet comes three weeks after the Committee to Protect Journalists, a global organisation advocating press freedom, had appealed to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik to release Sultan.

In a letter to Malik, the CPJ had advocated releasing the journalist, who works for a weekly newspaper, and said "freedom of the press is a vital tenet of democracy and a proud part of India's history. We urge you to use the authority vested in you as governor of Jammu and Kashmir to help immediately ensure that Aasif Sultan is released and that the charges against him are dropped".

The journalist had approached sessions court for a bail which was rejected. Under UAPA, police is supposed to file a charge sheet within six months after arresting.

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