Asia - Pacific

Kashmiri journalist arrested in 27-year old case

Editor of Urdu daily faces action in an anti-terror case, filed in 1992 against 9 journalists

Zahid Rafiq   | 25.06.2019
Kashmiri journalist arrested in 27-year old case Ghulam Jeelani Qadri - Photo by Faisal Khan (Anadolu Agency)

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir

Indian police on Monday night arrested a senior Kashmiri journalist, in a 27-year old case in Srinagar -- summer capital of Indian administered part of Jammu and Kashmir.

The journalist was later produced before the judicial magistrate, who granted him bail and fixed hearing on July 31.

Family members of Ghulam Jeelani Qadri -- owner and editor of prominent Urdu language daily, the Aafaq -- said he was taken to police station, where the journalist came to know that he was wanted in a case, registered against him in 1992 under the strict anti-terror law, the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act commonly called TADA.

The law was enacted in 1985, but allowed to lapse in 1995 due to increasing unpopularity after widespread allegations of abuse.

The then administration had registered a case against nine journalists along with Qadri, who were working in the now defunct local news agency ‘J&K (Jammu and Kashmir) News’. The agency was accused of allegedly distributing news and press releases issued by militant outfits.

According to police, Qadri had been summoned by the special court. “The special TADA Court had issued a warrant against him, but he did not cooperate,” Srinagar’s Senior Superintendent of Police Haseeb Mughal told Srinagar-based newspaper Greater Kashmir.

Three of the other journalists accused in the case have since passed away.

The arrested journalist’s younger brother Morifat Qadri told the Indian newspaper The Hindu, that his brother’s arrest was nothing but harassment.

“The police has claimed that he was absconding in an anti-terrorism case registered against him in 1992. All these years, Qadri had been going to his office every day,” said the younger brother. “How can he be shown an absconder?”

Interestingly, two other journalists, who are co-accused in the case have won state award and become law makers.

Qadri’s arrest is being seen in Kashmir as an attack against the local press. Jammu and Kashmir is currently under the direct rule of Indian President. On behalf of Indian government, Governor Satya Pal Malik is heading the state administration.

“Two Kashmiri journalists were arrested last year, then government advertisements were stopped to several Kashmiri newspapers, and now Qadri, 62, who is a very senior and well known journalist has been arrested, that too on some 27 year old case.” President of Kashmir Working Journalist’s Association, Naseer Ganai, told Anadolu Agency. He described the arrest, as nothing but intimidation.

Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.

Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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