Purported threats from a Lashkar-e-Toiba-run blog against journalists allegedly working for government agencies has triggered panic among Kashmir scribes, prompting at least five of them to quit their jobs. The resignations have come as police have registered a case against Lashkar and its offshoot, The Resistance Front (TRF), and started an investigation into the threats.
KashmirFight.com, a blog spot reportedly run from Pakistan, has vowed to target journalists allegedly working for the State, calling them “stooges” and “traitors”. It claimed they work for intelligence agencies and provide information “about freedom-loving people”. The threat letters named 21 owners, editors and reporters of mainly three Srinagar-based organisations — the newspapers Greater Kashmir and Rising Kashmir and the portal and social media TV channel Asian News Network.
“They are already listed and their timeline is sealed,” the letters warned, claiming to have identified 76 people.
The authenticity of the threat letters could not be independently verified, although the police did not appear to doubt their veracity.
“Case registered against handlers, active terrorists & OGWs (Over Ground Workers) of terror outfit LeT & its offshoot TRF (The Resistance Front) for online publication & dissemination of a direct threat letter to Journalists & reporters based in Kashmir. FIR No. 82/2022 U/S 13 UAPA, 505, 153B, 124A & 506 IPC in Shergari PS,” Srinagar police tweeted.
Screenshots of the threat letters were widely shared on social media. The blog spot cannot be accessed in Jammu and Kashmir.
Three journalists working with Rising Kashmir — Ishtiyaq Joo, Jahangir Sofi and Shaharyar Bukhari — resigned, announcing their decision on social media.
“Have resigned from my editor’s position in English daily the Rising Kashmir today,” Joo tweeted.
“I announce my resignation from Reporter’s position and disassociation from Media House Rising Kashmir W.E.F from today 14 Nov 2022,” Sofi tweeted.
A journalist whose name figures on the list but who has not resigned told The Telegraph: “Some people on the list enjoy government security but the majority of us have no security. You will find several independent journalists on the list. I don’t know what our fault is.”