4 journalists detained, freed in Kashmir

Police say they were detained in connection with FIR lodged last year

Published - September 09, 2021 05:02 am IST - Srinagar

The Jammu and Kashmir police conducted raids and detained four journalists in Srinagar on Wednesday. They were freed in the night.

Around 7 a.m., simultaneous raids were carried out by multiple teams of the police on the residences of Hilal Mir, a freelancer; Shah Abbas, a freelancer; Azhar Qadri, a freelancer; and Showkat Motta, editor of the Kashmir Narrator magazine, in different locations in Srinagar.

“We were asleep when the police raided my house. They searched the rooms. Later, they took away my mobile phone and laptop. Even my wife was asked to hand over her mobile and laptop. Our passports were also seized,” one of the four detained journalists told The Hindu.

Another journalist said the mobile phones of all the family members were seized during the raid. It’s for the first time that the family members of the journalists were also target of the police action.

Three of the four detained journalists contribute to foreign publications. They were detained at the Kothi Bagh police station in Srinagar till around 8 p.m. and were released.

“We were asked about our background. We were not told about the case in which we have been summoned nor intimated of any charges,” another detained journalist said.

When contacted, a senior police officer said the four were detained in an FIR 82/2020 lodged last year. “They are questioned as part of the ongoing investigation in the case,” he said.

Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) termed the detentions “crude intimidation”.

According to the Kashmir Press Club (KPC), a number of Kashmir-based journalists were booked, summoned and intimidated in the past two years in Kashmir.

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