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KPC condemns “harassment” of journalists

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Seeks intervention of HM, LG, DGP

Srinagar: The Kashmir Press Club (KPC) has condemned the alleged harassment to journalists by police in Kashmir.

In a statement issued here, the KPC said that police has booked a young female photo- journalist Masrat Zahra under 13 UA (P) Act and 505-IPC.

She was summoned to Cyber Police Station, Aircargo in Srinagar on April 18, 2020. However after Kashmir Press Club and Directorate of Information intervened at the highest level, the police dropped the summon, the statement said.

“But now it emerges the police have filed a case against her with stringent charges and stringent acts and as per the conversation with Masrat, she has been asked to come to the Police Station concerned on Tuesday, April 21, 2020,” said the statement.

The statement further said that police on Sunday (April 19) verbally summoned a senior journalist, Peerzada Ashiq, of The Hindu and asked him to explain the alleged factual inaccuracies in a story that was published the same day. While Peerzada explained his case to police in Srinagar, he was asked to travel to south Kashmir, some 40 kilometers away in evening, and present himself before a police officer in Anantnag district.

“Earlier also a  reporter of Kashmir Observer  newspaper Mushtaq Ahmad was thrashed and arrested by the police in Bandipora when he was out during lockdown period related to his professional work. He was released only after securing a bail from the court,” said the statement.

While the government has every right to rebut a story of a journalist and allow a journalist to respond, cases against journalists for their stories and work are unwarranted and outrightly illegal and draconian, said the statement.

KPC has sought intervention of Home Minister Amit Shah, LG GC Murmu and Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh to issue direction that this harassment comes to end.

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