Pulwama, Indian-administered Kashmir – Police in Indian-administered Kashmir have booked a feminine photojournalist beneath the stringent Illegal Actions (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for indulging in “anti-national actions” on social media.
Masrat Zahra, a 26-year-old photojournalist from the area’s most important metropolis of Srinagar, is accused of “importing anti-national posts [on Facebook] with felony intentions to induce the youth”.
An announcement by Srinagar’s Cyber Police Station on Saturday stated it obtained data via “dependable sources that one Fb person particularly ‘Masrat Zahra’ is importing anti-national posts with felony intention”.
“The Fb person can also be believed to be importing pictures which might provoke the general public to disturb regulation and order. The person can also be importing posts that tantamount to glorify the anti-national actions and dent the picture of regulation imposing companies in addition to inflicting disaffection in opposition to the nation,” it stated.
Police stated a primary data report (FIR) was filed on Saturday and an investigation is on. She has been summoned earlier than the police on Tuesday.
The UAPA permits the federal government to proscribe people as “terrorists” and empowers the federal Nationwide Investigation Company to probe such circumstances.
An individual charged beneath the regulation may be jailed for as much as seven years.
Masarat zehra, knowledgeable photojournalist, has actually instructed tales of Kashmir in 4-year profession. Invoking UAPA is outrageous. In solidarity with our colleague, we demand FIR withdrawn. Journalism isn’t crime. Intimidation/ censorship gained’t silence Kashmir’s journalists.
— Muzamil Jaleel (@MuzamilJALEEL) April 20, 2020
Zahra on Monday instructed Al Jazeera over the phone that the police and authorities try to “muzzle the voices of journalists in Kashmir”.
“Police has nowhere talked about that I’m a journalist. They’ve stated that I’m a Fb person,” she stated.
Zahra stated she had been charged for posting her already-published works through the years, calling the allegations “surprising”.
“I’ve been sharing my archival pictures which have already been revealed in several Indian and worldwide organisations on social media for which I am being booked,” she stated.
Zahra’s work has appeared in a number of publications together with The Washington Publish, The New Humanitarian, TRT World, Al Jazeera, The Caravan and others.
‘Gags in opposition to media’
In the meantime, journalists from the area have reacted strongly to the fees in opposition to Zahra.
In a press release launched on Monday, the Kashmir Press Membership condemned the fees in opposition to her and different journalists from the area, and demanded intervention by India’s Dwelling Minister Amit Shah.
“It is rather unlucky that when the world is in a grip of pandemic and when we have to stand collectively to fight the COVID-19, police has began submitting circumstances in opposition to journalists and harassing them,” it stated.
“That is unacceptable for journalists of Kashmir who’re nicely inside their rights to hunt freedom of expression and speech as assured beneath the structure like different components of the nation.”
Kashmiri journalist Gowhar Geelani instructed Al Jazeera that “invoking stringent provisions of a draconian regulation” in opposition to Zahra “speaks volumes concerning the gags in opposition to media to silence journalists, to regulate the narratives by use of pressure, and to include the Kashmir story with lawlessness”.
Muzamil Jaleel, deputy editor of New Delhi-based The Indian Categorical newspaper, tweeted that Zahra has “actually instructed tales of Kashmir in a four-year profession”.
“Invoking UAPA is outrageous. In solidarity with our colleague, we demand FIR withdrawn. Journalism is not crime. Intimidation/censorship will not silence Kashmir’s journalists,” he posted.