Jammu and Kashmir Journalist Sajad Gul Arrested Under Public Safety Act

The arrest under the PSA comes a day after the journalist was granted bail in a criminal conspiracy case.

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Jammu and Kashmir Journalist Sajad Gul Arrested Under Public Safety Act

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Kashmiri journalist Sajad Gul has been booked under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) and had been shifted to Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu, Inspector-General of Police Kashmir zone Vijay Kumar confirmed to The Kashmir Walla on Sunday, 16 January.

The PSA is a preventive detention law under which a person is taken into custody to prevent them from acting harmfully against "the security of the state or the maintenance of the public order" in Jammu and Kashmir. Under the PSA, a person can be detained for a period of 3 to 6 months without trial.

The arrest under the PSA comes a day after the journalist was granted bail by a local court in a criminal conspiracy case.


The Case Against Gul

Gul, a trainee reporter at the The Kashmir Walla, had been arrested on 6 January. He has been booked under criminal conspiracy and other charges for posting a video of a family shouting anti-India slogans after their kin was killed in a gunfight in Srinagar.

In the video, the family members could be seen protesting against the killing of alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Salim Parray, who was gunned down 3 January.

A police statement in this regard had said, “The said person (Sajad Gul) under the garb of a journalist is habitual of spreading disinformation, false narratives through different social media platforms in order to create ill will against the government by provoking general masses to resort to violence and disturb public peace and tranquillity… his overall activities are prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and unity of India.”

On Saturday, the journalist was granted conditional bail by a local Bandipora court. The police was directed to release Gul against a bond of 30,000 rupees if he was not involved in any other crime, The Kashmir Walla reported.

Gul, however, was not released as his he had been named in another case registered earlier this month, under sections Indian Penal Code 153B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 ( every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 307 (attempt to murder) Indian Penal Code.


'Journalist Is Not a Crime': Scribes Condemn Case Against Gul

A number of journalists took to Twitter to condemn the case against Gul.

"Police's decision to open a fresh investigation into Sajad Gul even as he was granted bail on previous allegations is a transparent effort to hold him, no matter what the court decides. Authorities must drop the investigation and set him free," the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Asia said in a tweet.

(With inputs from The Kashmir Walla)

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