J&K court issues arrest warrant against journalist Gowhar Geelani

Police told to produce him before the court by Feb. 19

Published - February 17, 2022 10:05 pm IST - SRINAGAR

Gowhar Geelani.

Gowhar Geelani.

A J&K court issued an arrest warrant against journalist Gowhar Nazir Geelani on Thursday. An executive magistrate directed the Station House Officer (SHO), Heepora, Shopian, in south Kashmir, to produce Mr. Geelani before the court by February 19. “In view of non-appearance of Gowhar Nazir Geelani after serving notice on him under Section 107/151 CRPF, dated February 03, 2022, you are directed to arrest and produce the person before this court on Feb 19, 2022, in order to maintain peace and public tranquillity in the jurisdiction of this court,” an order issued by the executive magistrate said. Mr. Geelani, who writes for foreign news channels and portals and is a well-known television commentator, was first summoned by the court on February 1 over “dissemination of information on social media that would have endangered the life of the injured individual and other persons”, following a militant attack that left a policeman injured.

Officials said Mr. Geelani has failed to present himself before the court in response to the summon so far. Mr. Geelani would be the third journalist to be arrested in the past two months in Kashmir. Earlier, Sajad Gul, a photojournalist, and Fahad Shah, editor of the ‘Kashmir Walla’, were arrested. Mr. Gul was arrested under the Public Safety Act, that allows a person to be detained for two years without a trial. Mr. Shah was booked under sections of the law related to sedition and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and is at present in police remand. The journalists’ arrests and summons to Mr. Geelani have already evoked sharp criticism from several journalist bodies in and outside the country. Around 59 press freedom organisations, human rights groups and publications wrote to J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on February 14 “to secure the immediate release of Kashmiri journalist Fahad Shah and the withdrawal of all police investigations launched into his journalistic work”.

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