Journalists and politicians in Kashmir see the raids as a way to silence critical voices
SRINAGAR — Several journalists’ associations in Kashmir have condemned the recent National Investigations Agency (NIA) raids on a journalist and a daily newspaper.
A joint statement issued on Thursday by eight groups, including the Kashmir Press club and Journalist Fraternity Kashmir, denounced the “harassment” of Parvaiz Bukhari, an internationally known journalist, who works for Agency France Press as its Kashmir correspondent.
“We condemn the continuous harassment of media institutions and Kashmiri journalists, including Parvaiz Bukhari,” said the statement a day after sleuths from NIA searched the home of Bukhari, offices of human rights groups and Greater Kashmir, the largest-circulated daily published from Srinagar. NIA claimed to have seized incriminating documents and electronic devices.
NIA said that the raids were part of the investigation into a case filed under terror laws in October over the allegations that several Kashmir civil society groups were collecting funds to sustain “secessionist and terrorist activities in J&K”.
However, journalists and politicians in Kashmir see the raids as a way to silence critical voices.
The joint statement linked the raid to what it termed as “continued harassment of journalists”
“We see it as a broader tactic to intimidate and silence professional journalists, who have been reporting on the region without any prejudice for decades,” the statement said. “Since August 5 2019, dozens of Kashmiri journalists have been questioned, summoned, harassed and even physically assaulted by the authorities under the garb of various charges.”
Kashmir journalists have been increasingly complaining of harassment and police cases for reporting .
In April, the global media watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, said India had dropped two spots on the 2020 World Press Freedom Index and was now ranked 142 in a list of 180 countries.