Srinagar, Sep 10: Kashmir journalists’ fraternity on Monday held a sit-in at Press Enclave in Srinagar against the continued detention of journalist Aasif Sultan while demanding his immediate release.
Sultan, an assistant editor at a news magazine, was arrested from his home in Batmaloo area of the city two weeks ago.
The protest was organized by Kashmir Journalists Association (KJA).
The journalist body said Sultan’s arrest is aimed at ‘intimidating journalists in Kashmir who are already working under tremendous pressure.’
Members of Kashmir Journalist Corp, Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA), Kashmir Press Photographers Association (KPPA) and Kashmir Video Journalist Association participated in the protest.
KJA also appealed to the governor Satya Pal Malik and DGP Dilbagh Singh to intervene in the matter and order highest probe into the arrest of Sultan and set him free.
“We demand the officers concerned be held responsible and action be taken against them for arresting a journalist,” KJA spokesperson said.
“KJA believes that media plays an important role to strength democratic and constitutional values. However, when the press freedom is choked and journalists are harassed situation becomes dangerous to live. It may affect the basic freedom of speech,” he said.
The journalists’ body also appealed to international journalist bodies and human right forums to take up the issue strongly with the local authorities.
KJA also appealed to the Press Council of India to push for the release of Sultan.
“They have made a simple journalistic piece (news article) as basis for the case which is totally uncalled for and against the ethics,” said a statement issued by the KJA.
Meanwhile, reports said that Sultan’s detention has been challenged in the court. The court has fixed September 13 for hearing the case, while issuing the notice to the state government.
Sultan’s arrest has evoked widespread criticism from many media watchdogs and human rights organizations. International watchdogs ‘Reporters Without Borders’ and the ‘International Federation of Journalists’ (IFJ) have condemned Sultan’s arrest and sought his immediate release.