Kashmiri journalist Fahad Shah has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for the second time in 37 days, his counsel Umair Ronga said on Friday. Shah is the editor-in-chief of news portal The Kashmir Walla.
Ronga also said that the journalist was on Friday remanded to police custody for five days in a case filed against the news portal in Srinagar for its reporting in May 2020.
Shah was arrested in the Srinagar case on March 5, hours after he was granted bail by a Shopian court in a separate matter. This was the third time he had been arrested in over a month.
The journalist was earlier arrested on February 4 by Pulwama Police for posting allegedly anti-national content on social media and booked under the UAPA charges. He was granted bail after 22 days by a National Investigation Agency court.
However, hours after he got bail, Shah was arrested again on February 26 by the Shopian Police in the case. On March 5, he got bail in the second case and was arrested immediately after in relation to the case for which he has now been sent to police custody.
In this case, Shah has also been charged under Sections 147 (rioting), 307 (attempt to murder), 109 (abetment), 501 (printing or engraving defamatory matter) and 505 (public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code.
In a statement, The Kashmir Walla said that Shah’s legal team would soon move another bail application for his release.
“The Kashmir Walla team continue to repose the faith in judiciary and the supremacy of law,” the statement said. “The team continues to stand strongly behind Fahad and his family in this time of distress as we reiterate our appeal to Manoj Sinha-led Jammu and Kashmir administration for the immediate release of Fahad.”
On February 5, the Jammu and Kashmir Police had said that he is wanted in three cases for “glorifying terrorism, spreading fake news and inciting general public for creating law and order situation”.
On February 6, several press bodies, including the Editors Guild, had demanded that Shah be released immediately. The Editors Guild had asked the authorities in the Union Territory to ensure that FIRs, intimidatory questioning and wrongful detainment was not used as tools for suppressing press freedom.