Srinagar: After police accused ten people, including jailed journalist Asif Sultan of ‘harbouring militant, support to proscribed militant organization’, PDP has said that ‘journalists are being chargesheeted for allegedly giving shelter.’
Journalists working under tough conditions are being charge sheeted for allegedly giving shelter. It’s very difficult to perform professional duties in such conditions @FreePressK @GreaterKashmir @RisingKashmir @KashmirLife @tkwmag @WasemKhalid @BabaUmarr @AzaanJavaid https://t.co/RPWwbISuQX
— J&K PDP (@jkpdp) February 7, 2019
In a statement police has accused Asif Sultan of hatching criminal conspiracy, “harbouring militant” and giving support to the “proscribed” militant organisation.
The statement said that Srinagar Police submitted the charge sheet in respect of case FIR No 173/2018 of police station Batamaloo.
The spokesperson said that the FIR pertains to the incident dated August 12, 2018 when militants hiding in a residence at Diyarwani, Batamaloo, Srinagar fled away from the spot after indiscriminately firing at Police party and killed one police personnel Parvaiz Ahmad.
“After the conclusion of investigation the Chargesheet has been filed before the competent Court by Srinagar Police U/S 120-B read with 34, 302,307,326, RPC, 7/27 IA Act,16,18,19,20,38 & 39 of ULA(P) Act and substantive offences thereof subsequent to obtaining necessary Government sanction for prosecution under ULA(P)Act,” the statement added.
The chargesheet, the spokesperson said, has been filed against ten accused including Muhammed Shafeeq Bhat, Waseem Khan, both residents of Diyarwani, Batamaloo; Bilal Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Kund Qazigund; Shazia Yaqoob alias Pari, a resident of Kamad Anantnag and Asif Sultan, a resident of Firdousabad, Batamaloo for their role in hatching criminal conspiracy, “harbouring terrorist” and giving support to the proscribed militant organisation besides substantive offences of law as mentioned above.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) had condemned the arrest of Aasif Sultan and demanded his ‘immediate release’ in a statement issued.
In a similar incident, the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society condemned the arrest of Aasif Sultan.
“Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) condemns these arrests and hopes that people in India and institutions would rise to this occasion and express unconditional solidarity with these activists and all those who in a similar manner are being targeted by the ruling class for the work which is produced by them. This sustained stifling of the dissent has made India an absolute majoritarian and authoritarian regime,” the statement read.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) had called for “immediate and unconditional” release of Sultan, “in violation of all criminal procedure rules for the past ten days”.
“Detaining a journalist without any serious evidence to support the charges against him is unacceptable,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk, in a statement.