Srinagar: Member of Rajya Sabha, Fayaz Ahmad Mir, has asked union home minister Amit Shah for his intervention in the “urgent matter” of charges against Kashmiri journalists, aiming for issuance of directions to withdraw at earliest.
This week, Jammu and Kashmir Police booked two journalists — Masrat Zahra and Gowhar Geelani — for their social media posts, which the police claimed were “prejudicial to national integrity, sovereignty and security of India.” The police also filed an FIR against a report filed by Peerzada Ashiq in The Hindu, a national English daily.
In a letter to Amit Shah, Mir said, “Administration especially J&K Police should’ve been able to discern the fact that putting journalism and cyber crime on the same pedestal is disservice to the constitution and an attack on freedom of expression.”
Mir has highlighted the difficulties faced by journalists in Kashmir and “the impediments and challenges they manoeuver to keep public enlightened by highlighting decits of governance and raising awareness about various social plights engulng the society.”
“India takes pride in calling itself world’s largest democracy and as your esteemed self will also agree Democracies thrive and ourish when provided free ecosystem so that journalists can carry out their job without fear or favour,” Mir said in the letter. “Differing views only strength the conversation and nudges us to take remedial measures.”
He also added that the media fraternity has not shied away from “amplifying the message and standing shoulder to shoulder with administration whether during 2005 earthquake, 2014 oods or the present COVID-19 pandemic.”
Several other rights groups and Kashmir Press Club has called out the harassment of the journalists by the police and demanded the withdrawal of charges immediately.