‘Grateful for Support’: Kashmiri Scribe Bullied by Police for Critical Report Says Silence Would have Set a Bad Precedent

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Auqib Javeed, Source-Internet

Javeed said he did not want to live with a burden of regret in life. “If the police go after someone else in future, I would have felt guilty and that is why I decided to speak out.”

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Kashmiri journalist Auqib Javeed, who was recently questioned by the cyber police in Kashmir over his story in news portal Article 14 about alleged harassment of Twitterati, said that he was slapped, abused and bullied by officers of the Jammu and Kashmir police.

He has written a first-hand account of the ordeal he suffered at the hands of the police when he was grilled at the cyber police station in Srinagar. His article published in Article 14 attracted a significant traction as many prominent journalists and activists in India shared it on their social media pages. Many hailed Javeed’s courage and rebuked the police officers for harassing a journalist.

Javeed, while speaking with Clarion India over the phone from his home in Bandipora, Kashmir, said he was overwhelmed by the support he received from his colleagues, friends, and even strangers.

“It means a lot and I felt so good that somebody is behind me,” he said, adding: “I am grateful for the support of editors of different publications, especially those at Article 14 who stayed by me.”

The young journalist said that the ordeal left him shaken and he had to think how he should respond. “When I decided to write the piece, I knew they would create some problems but I cannot live with this shame.”

But more importantly, his silence would have made police feel emboldened as he says, “My silence would have set a bad precedent.”

Javeed said he did not want to live with a burden of regret in life. “If the police go after someone else in future, I would have felt guilty and that is why I decided to speak out.”

He wrote that he did not understand under what law he was summoned by the SP of Cyber Police and verbally abused and slapped by the cops.

He said the ordeal left him “traumatised, anxious and nervous”. “I was awake most of that night, haunted by the physical assault and their abuse.”

In his story on alleged intimidation of social media users by the police, Javeed wrote that he was slapped twice by a masked policeman while he was walking towards the room of Superintendent of Police of the Cyber Wing Tahir Ashraf Bhatii.

He said that the police tampered with his phone. They took away his phone when he entered the police station and when returned, he found that they had changed the password of his WhatsApp application. “I found the call record of my 20 August conversation with SP Bhatii deleted,” he said.

Javeed’s story presented the account of Kashmir Twitter users summoned by the police and the detailed comment from the SP Bhatti. However, the police had a problem with the photo and the headline used by Article 14 in the piece.

After the story of his ordeal was published, the cyber police issued a press release admitting that they took up the issue they had with Javeed’s piece on summoning of Twitter users but they denied the allegation of abuse and threats as alleged by the journalist.

“The allegation of excesses by police officers published by Article 14 and other social media handles are misleading and factually incorrect, hence refuted,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a US-based international NGO, has urged the Jammu and Kashmir police to take immediate action against all officers involved in the alleged assault on Javeed and asked the police to “stop retaliating against critical reporting.”

The Kashmir Press Club, where Javeed is a core member, condemned the behaviour of the police towards Javeed and appealed to the Lt-Governor to look into the issues faced by journalists in Kashmir.

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