Kashmir Police Questions News Portal Editor

Fahad Shah

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir police Friday summoned editor cum owner of a news portal here for questioning over his reports about a recent encounter between militants and government forces in Srinagar.

Fahad Shah, who runs The Kashmir Walla, was summoned for questioning about the coverage of a gunfight in the Nawakadal neighbourhood of downtown Srinagar on May 19. Two militants had been killed in the encounter and several houses were destroyed. This is the second time Shah has been questioned on the same matter, a statement by the online publication said.

Condemning the fresh summons it said that “journalism is not a crime”.

“On 9 July 2020, The Kashmir Walla’s editor received a formal summon from Safakadal police station saying that “your presence is necessary for the purpose of enquiry into the offence committed under section 147, 307, 109, 501, 505 IPC [Indian Penal Code],” the statement posted on its website reads.

The police first questioned Shah on May 20, claiming that the coverage of the gunfight had “defamed” the force. At the time, Shah told the police that the reportage was based on “undisputed facts, eyewitness accounts, interviews of the civilian population, and also the police”. He was allowed to leave the police station after four hours of questioning.

In its statement, The Kashmir Walla said it saw the fresh summons as “yet another attempt to intimidate and silence journalists”.

When contacted SSP Srinagar Dr Haseeb Mughal told Kashmir Observer that Fahad Shah was called by police as with regard to an FIR registered at Safa Kadal Police Station on July 9, 2020. He was let off after the questioning.

“We have been investigating the incident and we can summon anyone for investigations”, SSP said.

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