New Delhi- The Press Club of India (PCI) on Thursday took serious exception to the alleged harassment of a journalist by Jammu and Kashmir police and demanded that an enquiry be “immediately” conducted against the force.
The journalist body also urged the Union government and Jammu-Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to immediately intervene to safeguard the freedom of the press and stop further harassment and targeted witch hunting of journalists.
The PCI’s demands came after Shahid Tantray, a journalist with ‘The Caravan’ magazine accused the Jammu and Kashmir police of harassing him over his article on the Army’s interference in activities in Kashmir, a charge denied by the force which said it had received a complaint against him for putting lives of some prominent individuals in danger.
Issuing a statement, Tantray claimed that he and his family were being intimidated by the police for writing articles on daily developments in Kashmir.
“Press Club of India strongly castigates J&K police for harassing Shahid Tantray. Of late, Tantray’s reportage critical of J&K government policies has invited ire from policy makers,” it said in a statement.
The J&K police threatening Tantray to stop reporting against the government or else face consequences refreshens the memory of the Emergency era of 1975, the journalist body added
“The Press Club demands immediate enquiry against the J&K police for unleashing criminal intimidation against Tantray and latter be reinstated in Srinagar as reporter,” it said.
The journalist body noted with deep concern that there has been “depressing trends” of a series of incidents of harassment and intimidation against journalists “who are not toeing the government line of thinking on public policy matters”.
“We demand immediate intervention of Union Government and J&K Lt Governor to safeguard the freedom of press and stop further harassment and targeted witch hunting against journalists,” the PCI said.
Tantray had put out an article in the June issue of the magazine claiming that the Army was staging peace marches to project normalcy in the valley and had named some of the corporators and peace activists working on behalf of the Army.
He claimed that he was being summoned by the police without any proper documents.
Senior police officials said that the persons named in the article were feeling threatened to step out of their homes as they fear that they may be the next target of militant groups.
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