SRINAGAR: Six days after they took him into custody, police on Saturday booked Kashmiri journalist Asif Sultan for “harbouring known terrorists” in his home in Batamaloo, where an encounter between militants and government forces took place last month. Asif’s father Muhammad Sultan said that police arrested his son from their home on Monday night and kept him at Batamaloo police station without producing him before a court, a mandatory procedure to be followed under law.
“They (police) came, searched my son’s room, confiscated his books, laptop and phone, and took him away. They kept him in police station Batamaloo,” said Sultan. “During these days we were told that he is being quizzed for a story he did for a magazine. We were also told that he was asked to reveal his political ideology.”
On Friday evening, Muhammad Sultan said, police station Batamaloo made him sign some papers for his son’s release. He said the police told him there was an issue with the papers and told him to come the next day to take his son. He said the papers were not given to him.
“On Saturday afternoon I received a call from the police station while I was preparing for prayers. I went there and was told to sign another bunch of papers. I refused because it was not what I had been told the previous day. I was not told anything when I asked why I was being asked to sign the arrest papers now when my son was taken away six days ago,” Sultan told Kashmir Reader.
Asif is an assistant editor with the monthly magazine Kashmir Narrator. In the magazine’s last issue he had written a cover story on Burhan Wani, the popular Hizb commander killed in 2016.
SHO Batamaloo Parvez Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that Asif was being formally arrested now over the incidents which took place in Batamaloo last month. He feigned ignorance about the investigation into those incidents. “Call the SP South. He is the investigation officer in the case,” he said.
SP South GV Sundeep refused to comment.
A police spokesperson in a statement said that Asif has been arrested by Police Station Batmaloo in case FIR No: 173/2018.
“The initial questioning of the accused, subsequent searches and disclosures made in the case so far have led to seizure of incriminating materials from various locations. It also establishes his complicity for harbouring known terrorists involved in serious terror crimes,” the statement said.