J&K Police Turns Heat Over Journalist ‘Hit List’, Raids 12 Locations

KO Photo By Abid Bhat

Srinagar- Widening its probe into the hit list of scribes dubbed army and police agents by shadowy Lashkar group The Resistance Front (TRF), the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Saturday carried out searches at as many as 12 locations, most of them residences of journalists, in the three districts of Srinagar, Anantnag and Kulgam.

The raids were carried out by a team of 4-5 policemen led by an Inspector, Sub-Inspector rank officer monitored by the SDPO concerned, a police spokesperson said Saturday.

“The raids were supervised by SP South City Srinagar Shri Lakshya Sharma-IPS and launched simultaneous searches at 12 locations across the valley including the houses of fugitives like Sajjad Gul, Mukhtar Baba, active terrorists of proscribed terror outfit LeT (TRF) and other suspects in Srinagar, Anantnag and Kulgam Districts,” he said.

In Srinagar, the spokesperson said, the premises that were raided and searched belonged to Mohammad Rafi at Nigeen, Rashid Maqbool at Lal Bazar, Momin Gulzar at Eidgah, Sajjad Kralyari at Rainawari, Gowhar Geelani at Soura, Mukhtar Baba at Nowgam, Waseem Khalid at Rawalpora, Adil Pandit at Khanyar and Sajjad Sheikh @Sajjad Gul at HMT in the city outskirts.

In Anantnag district, raids were carried out at the residence of Khalid Gul and Qazi Shibli, while in the neighbouring Kulgam the house of Basit Dar was searched.

During the searches, the spokesperson said, all the legal formalities were followed professionally and consequent to the searches some suspects have been brought for examination and questioning.

“The seized materials by the respective search teams include mobiles, laptops, memory cards, pen-drives & other digital devices, documents, bank papers, rubber stamps, passports, other suspect papers, cash, Saudi currency etc,” he said.

“The investigation in the instant case is in full swing and the general public is requested to bring any information that is relevant to this case in the notice of Srinagar Police,” he added.
The police action comes in the backdrop of online publication & dissemination of direct threat letters to some journalists & reporters based in Kashmir.

Police have already registered a case FIR No. 82/2022 at the Police Station Sherghari against terror handlers, active terrorists & terrorist associates of proscribed terror outfit LeT & its offshoot TRF for issuing threats to the journalists.

Over the last few days, as many as five journalists have resigned from local publications.

Quoting an intelligence dossier, a news agency PTI claimed Mukhar Baba as a mastermind behind issuing the threats to scribes.

Baba (55) used to work for various newspapers in Kashmir. He was a resident of Srinagar in the 1990s and is believed to have escaped to Turkey, an intelligence dossier said.

Baba has built a network of informers in the journalist community and used their inputs to prepare a list of scribes to threaten, the dossiers says, according to PTI.

On Friday, the Editors Guild of India (EGI) condemned the threats, saying such pronouncements have further worsened the sense of fear and insecurity, which makes it impossible for the journalists to work freely.

The Guild strongly condemned the threats and called upon the union territory administration to create an atmosphere of security and trust, wherein the media is not compelled to take sides, and is able to work in a free environment with full security, it said in a statement.

The EGI said the journalists in Kashmir now find themselves in the firing line from both the state authorities as well as terrorists, in what is a “throwback to the years of heightened militancy in the 1990s”. (With PTI inputs)

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