SRINAGAR: The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Tuesday condemned what they called “harassment” of Kashmiri journalist Aqib Javed Hakim and demanded that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) refrain from misusing its authority to intimidate journalists.
In a statement, IJU President SN Sinha said the NIA summons to Aqib Javeed amounted to an attack on freedom of press and was meant to intimidate journalists in Kashmir who were already working under difficult circumstances. The statement was also signed by Press Council of India (PCI) Secretary-General Amar Devulapalli and Vice-President Sabina Inderjit.
They expressed regret that the Indian government was using the NIA as a tool to harass journalists in Kashmir. They said that doing interviews was part of a journalist’s duties and not a national security threat.
“Earlier, the NIA arrested photo journalist Kamran Yusuf and the court threw out the case. We request Home Minister Rajnath Singh to immediately intervene and stop harassment of journalists in a volatile state. We pledge our support to the journalists in Kashmir, who are yet to come out of the shock of the assassination of Rising Kashmir Editor Shujaat Bukhari and we extend all possible support to them,” they said.
The NIA had summoned Aqib for questioning to Delhi over the sedition case filed against Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Asiya Andrabi and two of her aides. Aqib had interviewed Asiya Andrabi for a magazine. Aqib was released after three days of questioning. He told Kashmir Reader that he was asked about the validity of the facts Andrabi had hold him, and about his education and family background.
The IFJ said it joins its affiliate, the Indian Journalists Union (IJU), in strongly condemning the intimidation and harassment of journalist Aqib Hakim. It said, “The IFJ condemns the NIA over its summoning of a journalist from Srinagar to New Delhi, India, for an interview. The summoning is clearly an attempt to intimidate the journalist community of Jammu and Kashmir and a gross misuse of the authority. The IFJ urges the concerned authorities of India to immediately allow Hakim to conduct his professional activities as a journalist and refrain from harassing journalists in future.”