Journalist Fahad Shah was on Wednesday shifted to the Kupwara district jail from the Soura police station in Srinagar, according to The Kashmir Walla.
Shah is the editor-in-chief of the news portal.
The journalist has been detained under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, his lawyer Umair Ronga said on Monday. The Act allows the authorities to hold individuals in custody without trial for up to two years to prevent them from acting in any manner that is prejudicial to “the security of the state or the maintenance of public order”.
The news portal said that it did not have access to the police’s dossier against him at the time that they published the statement on Wednesday.
“Our legal team believes that Fahad’s Kafkaesque detention seems to challenge our judiciary, democratic values, and independent journalism at once,” The Kashmir Walla said. “Now, they would soon approach the appropriate court to secure further legal remedies.”
The Kashmir Walla urged the Jammu and Kashmir administration and the Union Territory’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to release Shah and to withdraw the Public Safety Act, as well as other charges against him.
The portal said that its editor-in-chief was taken from the Safakadal police station to the Soura police station on March 14, and was taken to the Kupwara jail on Wednesday.
“This was Fahad’s fourth arrest in the last 40 days,” The Kashmir Walla said. “4 February: Pulwama police station; 26 February: Imamsahib police station, in Shopian; 5 March: Safakadal police station; 14 March: Soura police station; and, on 16 March: Kupwara District Jail.”
Charges against Shah
Shah had been first arrested by Pulwama Police for posting allegedly anti-national content on social media and booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention), or UAPA, Act. He was granted bail after 22 days by a National Investigation Agency court.
However, hours after he got bail on February 26, Shah was arrested again the same day by Shopian Police in another case related to provocation for riots. On March 5, he got bail but was arrested in a third matter immediately.
In this case, Shah had been charged under Indian Penal Code sections that provide punishment for rioting, attempt to murder, abetment, printing or engraving defamatory matter and public mischief.
On March 11, he was charged under UAPA.
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 were not used as tools for suppressing press freedom.