Journalists protest colleague Asif Sultan’s arrest

Journalists protest colleague Asif Sultan’s arrest
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Arrest challenged in High Court, hearing on Sep 13

ARIF RASHID

SRINAGAR: Journalists gathered at the Press Enclave here on Monday to protest against the incarceration of their colleague, Asif Sultan, who has been sent by court to 15 days’ judicial custody in Central Jail Srinagar over a militancy related case.

Meanwhile, Asif Sultan’s arrest has been challenged in J&K High Court, and the court Monday issued notice to the state government and fixed September13 for the hearing of the matter.

The protest programme at Press Enclave was organised by the Kashmir Journalist Association (KJA) and was attended by members of Kashmir Journalist Corps, Kashmir Working Journalists Association, Kashmir Press Photographers Association, and Kashmir Video Journalist Association.

The protesting journalists demanded immediate release of Asif Sultan, assistant editor at Kashmir Narrator magazine.

The KJA said that Asif’s arrest was aimed at intimidating journalists in Kashmir, who are already working under tremendous pressure.

The journalists appealed to Governor Satya Pal Malik and Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh to intervene in the matter and order a high-level probe into the illegal detention of Asif at Batamloo police station for six days.

“Asif was detained illegally for six days without any charges against him. We demand that the officers concerned be held responsible and action be taken against them for arresting a journalist,” the KJA said.

According to family members of Asif and the editor of Kashmir Narrator, the police case was filed against Asif after an argument with top police official.

The journalist bodies also appealed to international journalist associations and human rights forums to take up the issue strongly with the local authorities.

They appealed to the Press Council of India to push for the immediate release of Asif.

“They have made a simple journalistic piece as the basis for the case (against Asif), which is totally uncalled for and against ethics,” journalists present at the gathering said.

The protesting journalists said that the rights of journalists were being violated in Kashmir.