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J&K Police Carries Out Raids at Multiple Residences in 'Journalist Threat' Case

Anees Zargar |
Raids on Thursday were carried out at the residences of journalists, newspaper editors and lawyers days after the police carried similar raids at the homes of several journalists and a lawyer last week

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) police said it carried out raids at multiple locations in Srinagar, Budgam and Pulwama districts on Thursday in a recent case related to “online threats” received by journalists allegedly from militant groups.

“Searches are going on in multiple locations in Srinagar, Badgam and Pulwama districts in connection with the 'online journalists threat' case. This is subsequent to the leads received from searches done a few days ago in the same case,” the Srinagar police Tweeted.

Raids on Thursday are said to have been carried out at the residences of journalists, newspaper editors and lawyers days after the police carried similar raids at the homes of several journalists and a lawyer last week on Saturday. The police also confiscated their electronic gadgets including phones and laptops, which according to officials, will undergo forensic tests.

The journalists, whose homes were raided last week, are being continuously summoned and questioned by the police authorities since then.

The fresh raids come after unverified threats were issued to a group of journalists and editors working in local news dailies online allegedly by the militant group The Resistance Front (TRF), believed to be an offshoot of the Lashkar e Toiba (LeT).

The Srinagar police filed a case FIR no 82/2022 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) at Shergari police station including sections 13 UAPA, 505, 153 B, 124 A and 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The case was registered, according to police, against handlers, active terrorists and Over Ground Workers of LeT and its offshoot TRF.

The threats were followed by resignations by some of the journalists named in the alleged “threat list”. These threats were, however, widely condemned by media rights groups and press freedom bodies who termed these threats and subsequent action against journalists as unnecessary.

DigiPub in its statement issued on 21st November said that it was “concerned” about the “intimidation and persecution” of journalists in Kashmir and the continued silencing of media.

“Kashmir’s journalists have been carrying out their professional duties while braving hostility from State and Non-State actors,” the statement read.

A notorious blog, believed to be behind issuing of threats, has issued similar threats in the past. In its report, published by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Wednesday, said that similar threats were made in June 2018 against Rising Kashmir Editor Shujaat Bukhari. “11 days later the journalist was killed, according to news reports. In October 2020, the blog issued a similar threat to 39 Kashmiri journalists, accusing them of being “Indian agents,” CPJ documented,” the report said.

“This is the most precarious situation faced by journalists in Kashmir. The uncertainty and threats have already cost many of them jobs and lives but never has the situation felt so bad as it is today,” a reporter said wishing anonymity.

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