Kashmiri journalist Fahad Shah, arrested in three cases and slapped with the Public Security Act (PSA) while awaiting his bail hearing in the third case, has been booked for the third time under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Prior to this, there were three ongoing cases against him, two of which were under the UAPA.
Shah, who is currently detained under the PSA, had been first arrested on 4 February, for allegedly sharing social media posts with "anti-national" content with "criminal intention" that aimed to disturb law and order.
The fresh First Information Report (FIR) has been filed against Shah, the editor of The Kashmir Wala, without naming him, as well as "other associates" over an article titled 'The shackles of slavery will break,' by Aala Fazili, which was allegedly published in the digital magazine.
The Kashmir Walla is a digital magazine reporting on sociocultural issues from Jammu and Kashmir, which began its operations in 2011.
"The editor of monthly digital magazine "The Kashmir Wala" has intentionally conspired with the author and published it in the monthly digital magazine thus endorsing the contents of the article," the FIR, accessed by The Quint stated.
Shah's lawyer Umair Ronga told The Quint on Wednesday that he has received a copy of the FIR and will be filing a bail application soon. He will also seek a report from the concerned authority, he said.
Who Is Fahad Shah?
Shah is an independent journalist, recipient of the 25th Human Rights Press Award and the editor of The Kashmir Walla.
He was first arrested after the police registered a case against him in south Kashmir's Pulwama district for allegedly sharing social media posts with "anti-national" content with "criminal intention" that aimed to disturb law and order.
He was granted bail on 26 February in the UAPA case, only to be arrested again in a second FIR filed by the J&K Police. The second arrest was in a different case, the FIR for which had been filed under Sections 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code.
On 5 March, Shah was re-arrested in a third case, soon after he was granted bail by a Shopian court. The Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested Shah in connection with a third FIR, filed against him in 2020, before he could be released.
Later, the journalist, who had by then received bail in two of the three cases against him – the arrests for which had been consecutive – and was awaiting his bail hearing in the third case, was slapped with the PSA.
Under the PSA, an accused has a right to challenge his detention before an advisory board, but they are not entitled to representation by a lawyer.