IJU demands release of 'The Kashmiriyat' editor

The IJU condemned the arrest of editor Qazi Shibli, saying that the J&K authorities continue to misuse the PSA with impunity.

The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) on Monday demanded that the editor of a news website, The Kashmiriyat, Qazi Shibli, be immediately released from custody, after he was detained by the J&K police’s cybercrime division on Friday in Srinagar.

According to news reports, Shibli has been detained at the Shergari police station since following a call from the Cyber Police on Thursday last asking him to present himself the next day, which happened to be Eid, stated a release.

However, it is unclear whether he has been charged under any offense as per another report, a police official was quoted saying they were asked by seniors to keep him in custody and were unaware of the reasons, it stated.

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. It stated that he was released only this April 13 after his detention was revoked during decongestion of jails across the country.

The IJU condemned the arrest, saying that the J&K authorities continue to misuse the PSA with impunity and more so after August 5 last year, when Article 370 stood revoked, the release stated. The Union demanded the State respect the freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in the Indian Constitution and allow independent journalists to do their work, it stated.

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 added.

First Published:Aug. 3, 2020, 7:46 p.m.