Srinagar, July 10 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, news portal ‘The KashmirWalla’ today said that journalism is not a crime after its Editor, Fahad Shah, was questioned over the coverage of a cordon and search operation (CASO) in the Nawakadal area of Srinagar on May 19, this year.

Indian troops had martyred noted mujahid commander, Junaid Sehrai, along with his associate and destroyed at least 19 houses during the military operation in Nawakadal on May 19. The KashmirWalla had given extensive coverage to the military operation.

This was the second time Fahad Shah was questioned on the same matter. The newspaper condemned the fresh summons, maintaining that “journalism is not a crime”.

“Yesterday, ‘The Kashmir Walla’s’ editor received a formal summon from Safakadal police station, saying that “your presence is necessary for the purpose of enquiry into the offence committed under section 147, 307, 109, 501, 505 IPC [Indian Penal Code],” the newspaper said in a statement.

“The police first questioned the journalist on May 20, claiming that the coverage of the CASO had “defamed” the force. At the time, Fahad Shah told the police that the reporting was based on undisputed facts, eyewitness accounts, interviews of the civilian population, and also the police. He was allowed to leave the police station after four hours of questioning,” the statement said.

The KashmirWalla In its statement said that it saw the fresh summons as “yet another attempt to intimidate and silence journalists”.

“As an independent news organisation based in Srinagar, we do not rely on government advertisements and comprise a small team of committed young professionals who diligently report facts from the ground,” the statement said.

The news portal added that over the past few months, the police had shown an increasing disregard for the freedom of the press with the authorities unwilling to answer important questions the press raises.

“We ask the authorities to immediately stop this intimidation and allow us to carry on with our professional duties. Journalism is not a crime,” it added.

The authorities had last month released a new media policy with an aim to force the media to toe the line of Indian government.

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