Hours after bail, journalist Fahad Shah arrested for third time
Srinagar: Hours after getting bail from a Shopian court and days after securing bail from a special court, journalist Fahad Shah was arrested for the third time in a month Saturday evening.
The most recent arrest by the Srinagar police is in connection with a case pertaining to his magazine’s reporting of an encounter in the city in May 2020.
As per a statement from the magazine, while granting bail to Fahad, Shopian magistrate SayeemQayoom noted: “In a barbaric society you can hardly ask for bail, in a civilised society you can hardly refuse it. In other words, ‘bail is a rule and its refusal is an exception’.”
Shah, the editor-in-chief of the online news magazine, ‘thekashmirwalla’, was arrested on February 04 this year by the Pulwama police. He was granted bail by a special court under the NIA Act after 22 days in custody, on February 26. Subsequently, he was arrested by the Shopian police and was granted bail on Saturday.
Currently, he is lodged at the Safakadal police station at Srinagar and his lawyer is set to move bail again.
In a statement, the Jammu and Kashmir Police had noted that journalist Fahad Shah was wanted in three cases for “glorifying terrorism, spreading fake news and inciting general public for creating law and order (L&O) situations.”
The 33-year-old was arrested for social media posts “tantamount to glorifying the terrorist activities and causing dent to the image of law enforcing agencies besides causing ill-will and disaffection against the country.”
The arrest in Shopian, on the heels of his first bail, came in a case filed by the Army against two news portals including ‘thekashmirwalla’ under Sections 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) and 505 (statements conducive to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code in January last year. This came after a report published in the magazine, alleging a local army unit “of forcing an Islamic seminary school to hold Republic Day celebrations on January 26” in Shopian.
Meanwhile, a third FIR was filed in Pulwama police station after Shah’s magazine published a story quoting family members of one of the deceased militants denying police claims. The police had contested the claims made in the report.