Srinagar: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called for “immediate and unconditional” release of Kashmiri journalist Aasif Sultan, a Kashmiri journalist who has been held by the police in Srinagar, “in violation of all criminal procedure rules for the past ten days”.
“Detaining a journalist without any serious evidence to support the charges against him is unacceptable,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk, in a statement.
“We call on the Jammu and Kashmir authorities to order Aasif Sultan’s immediate release, to drop all charges and to take measures against the Srinagar police officers responsible for his arbitrary detention. Allowing journalists to express different viewpoints will help to defuse tension in the Kashmir Valley,” Daniel added.
The RSF statement said Sultan, 31, was arrested on the night of 27 August when around 50 policemen descended on his home in Srinagar, the Kashmir capital, searched it and then took him away to a police station.
“His editor said he has been subjected to a great deal of violence, including being hit in the face, in an attempt to get him to explain his political ideology,” it said.
After being arrested in a nocturnal raid at his Batamaloo residence, Aasif Sultan, Kashmir-based journalist, who is the Assistant Editor of the monthly magazine Kashmir Narrator has been languishing in police custody since a week now, his father told Free Press Kashmir.
However, the cops have said that Aasif has been formally arrested and the case is being dealt by the Superintendent of Police (South).
While returning from Police Station Batmaloo, Mohammad Sultan, Aasif’s father told FPK that his son, a “diligent journalist” was picked up by the armed forces at around 2 in the intervening night of August 26-27. He reckons that he is in trouble for a story that was published in Kashmir Narrator.
RSF has said that the incident happened exactly a year and a day ago today, on 5 September 2017, that Kamran Yousuf, a Kashmiri photojournalist recognized as such by his colleagues, was arrested and handed over to the National Investigation Agency, India’s counter-terrorism agency.
Global Journalists’ body, The Committee to Protect Journalists had called on the Indian authorities and the National Investigative Agency (NIA) to immediately drop charges against photojournalist Kamran Yousuf and release him.
Earlier, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) had condemned the arrest of Kashmir Narrator Assistant Editor Aasif Sultan and demanded his ‘immediate release’.