Srinagar: The Committee to Protect Journalists has called upon the Jammu and Kashmir police to immediately cease all legal proceedings against journalist Aasif Sultan and release him from jail after formal charges were filed against him on Thursday.
“Filing terrorism-related charges against journalist Aasif Sultan, despite a complete lack of evidence, marks a terrible injustice and further undermines press freedom in Jammu and Kashmir,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, from Washington, D.C.
Sultan, along with nine other individuals, has been charged with harbouring and giving support to a militant organisation and for hatching a criminal conspiracy under India’s Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
“Is it so hard to understand that journalists, in the normal course of their work, must make contact with the people they write about,” Butler said.
Asif worked as an assistant editor with Kashmir Narrator when he was jailed in August 27, 2018.He had written a widely-acclaimed piece on Burhan, whose death led to months of protests in Kashmir.
Asif’s arrest led to widespread protests in Kashmir by journalist community who called upon the government and police for his immediate release. The arrest was also condemned by the various international organizations.