IFJ condemns journalist Aasif Sultan’s arrest on ‘dubious charges’

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Srinagar: The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Tuesday condemned arrest of a magazine editor on ‘dubious charge of involved in militancy’.

In a statement issued today, the IFJ condemned arrest of assistant editor Aasif Sultan of the Kashmir Narrator over alleged militancy crimes and sought his immediate release.

IFJ statement said that Sultan was not the first journalist in Kashmir to be arrested for ‘dubious charges of militancy involvement’.

“Photojournalist Kamran Yousuf was detained for more than six months before finally being released on bail in March, 2018. Kashmir Observer daily’s Aqib Javed Hakim was also summoned to New Delhi and interrogated on July 14 and 15 this year over an interview with a separatist leader,” the statement said.

The IFJ said the situation for journalists in Kashmir remains grim with media on the edge, particularly following the June 14 assassination of Shujaat Bukhari, the editor of Rising Kashmir daily, outside his office by unidentified gunmen.

Indian journalists union (IJU ) Secretary General, D Amar, said: “Taking Sultan into custody smacked of a bigger agenda of authorities to silence journalists and media in the troubled State. Sultan’s detention was illegal as no case had been filed against him and the police had hoodwinked the family by saying they would release him, but instead produced him in court seeking his custody.”

The IJU also slammed the police for falsely charging Sultan for his alleged “complicity for harbouring known terrorists involved in serious of terror crimes,” and went on to say these actions were a clear attack on freedom of the press.

IFJ General secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “The arrest and charge against Asif Sultan for his reporting is deplorable and unacceptable. We demand his immediate release and urge the Indian to critically address the deteriorating situation for media workers in Kashmir who are increasingly being targeted for doing their job.”