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Another Kashmir Journalist Faces Police Ire for Social Media Posts

FILE - Indian Central Reserve Police Force personnel stand guard on a street in Srinagar, October 12, 2021.
FILE - Indian Central Reserve Police Force personnel stand guard on a street in Srinagar, October 12, 2021.

An Indian court on Monday gave a Kashmir freelance journalist two days to appear before it over a police complaint that he had acted against the public interest by sharing information on social media about a militant attack on a policeman.

The complaint against Gowhar Nazir Geelani comes days after the editor of web portal Kashmir Walla, Fahad Shah, was arrested for uploading on social media "anti-national content to provoke the public to disturb law and order."

"I have granted him two days for appearance before the court," Executive Magistrate Fida Mohammad Bhat told Reuters of Geelani.

A summons issued to Geelani and seen by Reuters said that on February 1, following the wounding of the policeman by militants, the journalist "disseminated information on social media that would have endangered the life of the injured individual and other persons."

Geelani is also accused of sharing information that raised "serious security and breach-of-peace concerns."

"I have strong apprehensions you will continue with such activities that will have an impact upon (maintaining) peace and public tranquility in my jurisdiction," the summons read.

Reuters could not immediately contact Geelani, whose phone was switched off.

Indian authorities have been fighting a decadeslong armed insurgency in the Hindu-majority country's only mainly Muslim region, which is also claimed by neighbor Pakistan.

Kashmir Police Chief Vijay Kumar told Reuters that some people were uploading photographs, videos and posts on Facebook that were "tantamount to glorifying terrorist activities and causing dent to the image of law enforcing agencies, besides causing ill will and disaffection against the country."

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said in a tweet that "standing up for the truth is deemed anti-national," and asked, “How many Fahad's will you arrest?"

Last month, police arrested another Kashmir journalist, Sajad Gul, and booked him under the stringent Public Safety Act that allows for detention without trial for up to six months.

He was picked up by police after posting a video of a protest at the home of a militant killed during a gunfight with Indian troops. Gul's family has denied any wrongdoing.

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