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FIR on Kashmir journalist for social media posts

The action on Gowher Geelani came on a day Kashmir photojournalist Masrat Zahra was questioned by cyber police
A CRPF jawan stands guard in Srinagar after the lockdown was announced. “It is part of an ugly pattern that emerged after August 5 (when Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was scrapped) to hound and silence journalists and writers to contain the Kashmir story,” Geelani said.

Muzaffar Raina   |   Srinagar   |   Published 21.04.20, 09:33 PM

Jammu and Kashmir police on Tuesday booked a Kashmiri journalist and author for social media posts deemed “prejudicial to national integrity”, the third media person in the Valley to face action in four days.

The action on Gowher Geelani came on a day Kashmir photojournalist Masrat Zahra was questioned by cyber police.

Zahra, 26, one of the few woman journalists in the Valley, was on Saturday booked under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, which prescribes punishment of seven years’ jail if found guilty, and IPC Section 505, which deals with provocation to commit offence against a class or community. The details of the FIR were made public on Monday.

The Hindu correspondent Peerzada was booked separately on Monday for a report on the death of two Hizb militants in Shopian.

Zahra was summoned by the police’s cyber cell. “So wish me good luck because it’s time to defend my rights as a journalist, Going inside cyber police station,” she tweeted.

In another tweet, after around an hour of questioning, she confirmed she was not arrested.

The cyber police station in Srinagar said in a statement: “(Geelani’s social media posts) are prejudicial to national integrity, sovereignty and security of India. The unlawful activities include glorifying terrorism in the Kashmir Valley, causing disaffection against the country and causing fear or alarm in the minds of public that may lead to commission of offences against public tranquillity and the security of the state.”

“A case FIR No. 11/2020 under the relevant sections of law has been registered at Cyber Police Station Kashmir and investigation initiated,” it said. The statement did not mention Geelani’s professional background.

Geelani, the author of Kashmir Rage and Reason and whose works have appeared in international publications, told The Telegraph: “It is part of an ugly pattern that emerged after August 5 (when Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was scrapped) to hound and silence journalists and writers to contain the Kashmir story.”

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