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Day after arrest, editor of Srinagar-based Urdu daily gets bail in 28-year-old case

Case was registered in 1992; family alleges aim is to harass them

June 25, 2019 11:16 am | Updated 10:10 pm IST - Srinagar

Srinagar-based Urdu daily Aafaq ’s editor and owner Ghulam Jeelani Qadri, 62, on Tuesday was granted bail by the local court, a day after he was arrested in a 28-year-old-case.

While granting bail, the Chief Judicial Magistrate sought appearance of the local police officer on July 31 “to explain delay in execution of the warrants issued 26 years ago against Mr. Qadri.” It also asked the police to explain the “steps taken to produce the editor before the court, before declaring him an absconder.”

The court asked the police to explain how Mr. Qadri was issued passport twice in the past “if he was an absconder.”

Qadri, 62, was arrested around 11.30 p.m. on Monday, when he had just reached home from his office. The police executed an old summon in a case registered in the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) court 28 years ago. Kashmir’s senior journalists and editors attended the court all day “as a mark of solidarity with the editor.”

A case was registered against Mr. Qadri and seven others, including three Valley-based editors, on December 15, 1990 for circulating news and press statements issued by the militant outfits through a news agency, despite a ban on the circulation of newspapers then.”

Mr. Qadri’s younger brother Morifat Qadri told The Hindu that the editor was not allowed to even step inside the house or change his clothes or get his medicine. “He would have presented himself before the police in case of any summons. The way the arrest was made shows that the aim was to harass him and his family without any rhyme or reason,” Mr. Qadri added.

Shocking incident: Editors Guild

The Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG), a body of editors of Kashmir, termed the raid as “shocking”.

“It is still not known why Mr. Qadri was singled out for allegedly defying the due process of law in a case he is not aware about. The KEG regrets the way a senior editor was declared proclaimed offender in books and finally arrested during the dead of the night,” the KEG spokesman said.

The group said Mr. Qadri’s arrest has also led to the delay in the electoral process of the Kashmir Press Club.

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