The Kashmir Working Journalist Association (KWJA) and Kashmir Journalist Association (KJA) have taken strong note and are shocked and outraged to learn that a Srinagar based journalist, Aasif Sultan, has been under illegal detention at Police Station Batamaloo for the last six days.
In a joint statement issued here KWJA and KJA demanded immediate release of Asif Sultan, “We demand his immediate release from illegal custody, and action against police officials in charge of the station, and S P South Srinagar for keeping a journalist under illegal detention for a week,” the statement read.
Sultan, an Assistant Editor with the monthly newsmagazine, Kashmir Narrator, has been picked up from his home in Batamaloo on Monday night, purportedly for questioning, and since then police has not released him.
“We have learnt that Sultan is being questioned for his report on slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, published in a recent issue of Kashmir Narrator, along with other stories and has been asked to report his sources to police. Apart from the mistreatment meted out to him in custody, he is also being put questions about his “political ideology”,” the statement further added.
The editor of Kashmir Narrator, Showkat Motta, said police has been dilly dallying Sultan’s release through hollow assurances. He said, rather than releasing Sultan at the earliest, SP South Srinagar, G V Sundeep Chakravarthy even questioned him about his “political ideology”.
“I thought I will resolve the issue with them amicably and was trying to avoid confrontation but they (police) are prolonging his illegal detention,” Motta said. “They are asking him who he has talked to, why he has done this and that story, They are discussing headlines with him in lock up and pressurising him to become police source.”
“It is no secret that police and intelligence agencies have been trying their best to police the media in Kashmir, and harassing the media organisations and journalists has been a routine, but we want to make it clear that the journalist fraternity will fight such efforts tooth and nail.
We are seeking release of Sultan at an earliest and ask the government and police chief to explain the laws and rules under which he has been kept in lockup for the past six day,” KWJA and KJA reiterated.
Both KWJA and KJA also demand initiation of disciplinary and legal action against police officials for violation of the fundamental rights of an individual through prolonged illegal detention