IJU demands release of The Kashmiriyat editor

NEW DELHI, Aug 3: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has demanded that the editor of the news website The Kashmiriyat, Qazi Shibli, be immediately released from custody, after he was detained by the J&K police’s cybercrime division on 31 July in Srinagar.

According to news reports, Shibli has been detained at the Shergari police station since, following a call from the cyber police last Thursday, asking him to present himself the next day, which happened to be Eid. However, it is unclear whether he has been charged under any offence. As per another report, a police official was quoted as saying that they were asked by seniors to keep him in custody and were unaware of the reasons.

The IJU noted that Shibli was detained in UP’s Bareilly jail for nine months under the draconian Public Safety Act after he tweeted information about deployment of additional troops in J&K in July-end. He was released on 13 April after his detention was revoked during decongestion of jails across the country.

In a statement, IJU president Geetartha Pathak and IJU secretary-general Sabina Inderjit condemned the arrest, saying that the J&K authorities continue to misuse the PSA with impunity and more so after 5 August last year, when Article 370 stood revoked.

The union demanded that the state respect the freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in the Indian constitution and allow independent journalists to do their work.

“Interference on media rights and the citizens’ right to information makes a mockery of the world’s largest democracy and rule of law,” the IJU said.