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Kashmir news website editor booked for glorifying terror

Peerzaada Fahad Shah, the editor of online magazine 'Kashmir Walla'

The State Investigation Agency (SIA) of Jammu and Kashmir has on Thursday filed a charge sheet against the editor of an online magazine and a PhD scholar at the University of Kashmir for allegedly running a campaign of narrative-building for Pakistan and against India in the Union Territory.

Authoritative sources said that Peerzada Fahad Shah, the editor of an online newsmagazine ‘Kashmir Walla’, and one Abdul Aala Fazili, a PhD scholar at the Department of Pharmacology of the University of Kashmir, have been charged with glorifying terrorism and secessionism and selectively promoting Pakistan’s and the separatists’ agenda and narrative through the media. They were arrested in February-April 2022 and booked under different provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Indian Penal Code.

While Shah was arrested on February 5 for “glorifying militancy, spreading fake news, and inciting the public against law and order”, Fazili was arrested on April 17 for his “highly provocative and seditious” article in the online magazine ‘Kashmir Walla’.

“The case relates to narrative militancy wherein as part of a criminal conspiracy to spread militancy and create a false narrative, accused Fazili, by his highly provocative and seditious write-up, intended to create unrest, and aid and abet the gullible youth to take the path of violence,” the SIA said in a statement.

According to the SIA, Fazili’s article published in Fahad Shah’s digital magazine was found to be “against national integration and supported the claim of secession of a part of the country’s territory, challenged the sovereignty and territorial integrity, glorified violence, and advocated and abetted the commission of militant acts”. SIA claimed that Fahad Shah intentionally conspired with Fazili and published the article, and this led to an increase in militancy and unlawful activities across Jammu and Kashmir.

Calling Fazili and Shah “contaminated and compromised media persons”, the SIA said their end objective was to “create, sustain, and spread disaffection, hatred, and enmity against the Indian State”.

“Their interim objective was to preserve Pakistani influence by manipulating and playing with facts, subtly or brazenly, by putting information without context or out of context or selective reporting or selective exaggeration or underplaying or muting others and by craftily and cunningly invoking the legal rights to press freedom and political dissent guaranteed by the very Indian State which they wanted to undermine,” the statement said after the charge-sheet was filed in a designated court for the SIA and the NIA cases in Srinagar.

While taking a scholarship from the government for completing his doctorate in Pharmacology, Fazili allegedly indulged in brazen anti-national activities. Most of his articles demonising India and its sovereignty and democracy and glorifying ‘freedom’, appeared after the infamous street turmoil of 2010 in which around a hundred persons died and hundreds were injured in clashes with the Police and security forces.

In the article published in ‘Kashmir Walla’ on 6 November 2011, Fazili wrote: “Success, my dear friends is not an event, it is a process – it is a path, which we need to tread on so that we reach our destination – freedom. Alhamdulillah, the unflinching resistance of our young protesters and nation as a whole has set the movement into an irreversible motion on the path of success”.

He went on: “The resistance in last three years has been the most important phase so far in our freedom struggle. We may not have succeeded in chasing India out yet, but certainly we have succeeded in shaking their hold over Kashmir and creating ripples within their establishments – we have succeeded in tearing their mask of non-violence and democracy – we have exposed their demonic criminal conduct before their conscientious people – they stand demoralized – their confidence is shaken – their rhetoric of arrogance is changing – their claim of integral part has no takers anymore”.

“The awareness has heightened and mobilization/participation has touched majority of the people of Jammu and Kashmir irrespective of age, gender and region. Voices of resistance remain now loud and clear in the remotest parts of Jammu & Kashmir. An informed commitment has transferred to the younger generation and they feel confident in continuing the struggle more creatively, courageously and effectively towards liberation. This generation has also been victim of and witness to the struggle and sufferings that this nation has been enduring for the cause of liberation and justice”. He added, “The resonance of our resistance has reached the global power corridors so emphatically that it has become impossible for anyone to ignore our struggle and sufferings”.

In the same article, Fazili implored the valley’s younger generation to remain united in the rebellion against India. “The shackles of slavery will break – Insha’Allah, but for that my dear friends, lets us pledge that we will not forget the sacrifices our dear ones who have been taken away from us by the violence of Indian state during last sixty-three-years”, he wrote.

“India has been tyrant to us, but by forgetting their crimes we will become an accomplice. We remember the killings of two and a half lakh Muslims of Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi in 1947. We remember the killings of fifteen hundred people in 1953. We remember the killings and incarcerations of thousands of people, especially those of Poonch and Rajouri from 1965 to 1989. We remember killings of more than 1 lakh people since 1989 till 2010. We remember the molestations and rapes committed on thousands of our daughters. We remember those ten thousand people who have been subjected to enforced disappearance”, Fazili wrote in the same article.

Fahad Shah’s ‘Kashmir Walla’ is an online news magazine in the name of one of his family members which was allotted a title by the Registrar of Newspapers in India over a decade back. However, it is not registered with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir as it has not been printed as per rules within 6 months of the allotment of the title, or ever thereafter.

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