Incarcerated journalist Fahad Shah, 33, editor of the news portal ‘Kashmir Walla’, was granted bail by a local court on Saturday but was “re-arrested” in another case in south Kashmir.
Earlier in the day, a Special Court in Pulwama granted an interim bail to Mr. Shah, who was arrested on February 4 for “uploading anti-national content, including photographs, videos and posts with criminal intention to create fear among public”. He was booked under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
“The majesty of law has been upheld; the Special Court designated under the NIA act admitted to interim bail. The administration couldn’t dominate maliciously, while the judiciary rescued him courageously. Thank you for the support from every corner and everyone,” said Umair Ronga, lawyer of Mr. Shah, in a tweet.
Mr. Shah’s associates, who visited him in the Pulwama police station, said he was not released till late Saturday evening. “The police said he was being shifted to the Shopian police station,” one of the associates said on the condition of anonymity.
The police have not officially issued any statement or confirmed shifted him to another police station.
Mr. Shah was arrested immediately after the portal reported an encounter in south Kashmir, wherein some locals claimed that one of the deceased was a civilian. However, the police said the slain person had joined militancy.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar had also said Mr. Shah was wanted in three cases for “glorifying terrorism, spreading fake news and inciting general public for creating law and order situations under FIR No. 70/2020 at Safakadal, Srinagar; FIR No. 06/2021 at Imamsahib, Shopian, and currently has been arrested in FIR No. 19/2022 of Pulwama”.
At least 50 press freedom organisations, human rights groups and publications on February 14 wrote to J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha demanding the immediate release of Mr. Shah. They also sought “withdrawal of all police investigations launched into his journalistic work”.