As New Delhi holds a Group of 20 (G20) tourism meeting in Indian-administered Kashmir, a leading watchdog has condemned the crackdown on media and arrests of journalists in the region.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said press freedom remains under attack even as India tries to project normalcy in the disputed region.
“CPJ calls on the Indian government to end its brutal crackdown on the media and immediately release the four arbitrarily detained Kashmiri journalists,” the group said in a statement shared on Twitter on Monday. The journalists it wants freed are Asif Sultan, Fahad Shah, Sajad Gul and Irfan Mehraj.
Sultan, who was a reporter with the Kashmir Narrator magazine, was arrested in 2018 under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), an “anti-terror” law. He was charged with murder, attempted murder and harbouring rebels, but his family says he was targeted for the stories he wrote.
Shah was the editor of the Kashmir Walla website. He was arrested in February last year under the same UAPA law for “glorifying terrorism” in his writings.
Gul worked with Shah’s magazine and was arrested in January last year for spreading “false narratives” about India’s rule in its only Muslim-majority region.
Gul was booked under the Public Safety Act, a preventive detention law under which a person may be jailed for a year and sometimes more without bail.