Muslim photojournalist booked for Facebook post in Occupied Kashmir

Police call her posts anti-national, harmful to public peace


Anadolu Agency April 20, 2020
Police in IOJ&K called Masrat Zahra's Facebook posts anti-national and harmful to public peace. PHOTO: TWITTER

SRINAGAR: Authorities in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) on Monday booked a photojournalist under a draconian law for her Facebook post, a move criticised for violating the right to free speech in the so-called world’s largest democracy.

“Cyber police station received information through reliable sources that a Facebook user Masrat Zahra is uploading anti-national posts with criminal intention to induce the youth and to promote offences against public tranquillity,” according to a statement issued by the police.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_HdpJOFQCw/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Zahra has been booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Section 505 of Indian Penal Code. If convicted, she could face up to seven years in jail.

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Zahra, 26, told Anadolu Agency that she was summoned to the cyber police station on Tuesday.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_FihDDFvFm/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

The case has drawn an online protest from Kashmiri journalists who sent out a tweet: “Masarat Zehra, a professional photojournalist, has honestly told stories of Kashmir in 4-year career. Invoking UAPA is outrageous. In solidarity with our colleague, we demand FIR withdrawn. Journalism isn’t crime. Intimidation/ censorship won’t silence Kashmir’s journalists.”

In a statement, the Kashmir Press Club said the “government, especially the police, need to understand there is a vast difference between journalism and cybercrime”.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-miMs4lFt-/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

The Network of Women in Media India, of which Zahra is a member, said the case against her should be withdrawn.

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"The charges are preposterous in the extreme and amount to rank intimidation of a journalist who has won acclaim for her work, which documents the lived experiences of the people of Kashmir," said the group in a statement.

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