Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Cyber Police Tuesday night said it filed a case against a Kashmiri author-journalist Gowhar Geelani for “glorifying terrorism in Kashmir Valley” through social media posts, the second such FIR to be filed against a journalist in four days.
Geelani is an independent reporter who has been published by BBC, DailyO, and Scroll.in, among others. He also worked with Deutsche Welle for several years in Germany.
The official statement issued by the police did not cite the sections under which Geelani was booked, but sources said these were similar to those connected with Masrat Zahra, a photojournalist who was charged under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for her social media posts.
The J&K administration has been facing criticism from journalists for its action against Zahra and The Hindu reporter Peerzada Ashiq, who has been questioned in connection with an FIR filed against a report of his.
Case against Geelani
A senior police officer told ThePrint that authorities had been “compiling information” about Geelani’s social media activity for some time now.
In a press release, the police said: “Cyber Police Station Kashmir Zone, Srinagar, has received information through reliable sources that an individual namely ‘Gowher Geelani’ is indulging in unlawful activities through his posts and writings on Social Media platform (sic) which are prejudicial to the national integrity, sovereignty and security of India.
“The unlawful activities include glorifying terrorism in Kashmir Valley, causing disaffection against the country and causing fear or alarm in the minds of public that may lead to commission of offences against public tranquility and the security of State.”
The statement further said that several complaints have also been received against Geelani for “threatening and intimidation”.
“A Case FIR No. 11/2020 under the relevant sections of law has been registered at Cyber Police Station Kashmir and investigation initiated,” it said.
Journalists under fire
Zahra was booked under UAPA Saturday for publishing “anti-national” posts on social media. In a statement released Monday, police didn’t specify which posts of Zahra were anti-national, but said she had uploaded photographs which could “provoke the public to disturb law and order”.
Zahra was called in for questioning Tuesday at the Cyber Police Station in Srinagar.
The Hindu reporter Ashiq was called in for questioning by two different police stations Sunday before an FIR was filed Monday in connection with a story reported by him.
“Describing a report headlined ‘Kin allowed to exhume bodies of militants in Baramulla‘ published by The Hindu on April 19 as ‘fake news’, the Jammu and Kashmir police have registered an FIR in the matter,” read The Hindu report on 20 April.
The report was on two militants killed in an encounter in South Kashmir’s Shopian region. Two families had come forward to claim the bodies of the slain militants whom the authorities had said were unidentified.
The administration had buried the slain militants in a graveyard in Sheeri, Baramulla, reserved for foreign, unidentified or unclaimed militants.