Srinagar, Sep 12: Kashmir Journalist Association (KJA) on Wednesday held a protest rally in Lal Chowk in solidarity with arrested journalist Asif Sultan. He was detained by police kept in illegal police custody for six days.
KJA members gathered in press enclave on Wednesday afternoon and held a sit-in and later marched from Srinagar Press Enclave to Abi Guzar to press for the immediate release of Asif. The journalist body said international journalist and human rights bodies such as IFJ, CPJ, RSF and Amnesty International have already expressed their concern over deteriorating press freedom in the region and Asif’s arrest reflect growing dangers journalists are facing in the region.
“The government in spite of respecting us for working in the difficult and frustrating situation has started raising questions on our work.
Police authorities have been asking editors/reporters to explain their stories and the motive thereof. We appeal governor Satya Pal Malik as well as home minister Rajnath Singh to intervene and stop this harassment against journalist community in the valley,” KJA spokesperson said. Also, we will be taking up the issue about safety and harassment of journalists with Press Council of India.
Two journalists have been beaten up in north Kashmir yesterday while performing their professional duties.
Advisor to Governor K Vijay Kumar and DGP police Dilbagh Singh should take note of the incident and those responsible should be dealt according to law.
“Not acting against them will reflect that the government intentionally is trying to curb press freedom in Kashmir,” KJA spokesperson said
Regarding Asif’s case, KJA urges governor Satyal Pal Malik to intervene and order the immediate release of Asif Sultan as a basic freedom of expression is under attack.
It said journalists in Kashmir have always upheld journalistic principles amid threats from different quarters. We demand the government to not harass journalists in the name of investigations. “If this harassment doesn’t end, journalists will be forced to stop working en masse and the onus lies with the government,” the spokesperson said.