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India: journalist arrested in Kashmir accused of financing terrorism


Anti-terrorist police have arrested in the Indian-administered region of Kashmir a journalist and human rights activist accused...

Anti-terrorist police have arrested a journalist and human rights activist in the Indian-administered region of Kashmir accused of involvement in "

financing terrorist activities

", authorities announced on Tuesday.

Independent journalist Irfan Mehraj was summoned to a police station in Srinagar on Monday where he was arrested by representatives of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) who took him into custody, according to a statement from the NIA.

He had previously been questioned several times by NIA investigators but released each time.

Misuse of a draconian law

Irfan Mehraj was also working with the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a reputable human rights group in Kashmir whose founder, Khurram Parvez, was arrested on November 22, 2021 by Indian authorities and is being held. Since.


Irfan Mehraj was close to Khurram Parvez and worked with his organization

," according to the NIA statement.

Investigations showed that the JKCCS was funding terrorist activities in the (Kashmir) valley and was also engaged in spreading a secessionist agenda under the guise of protecting human rights


The JKCCS has been documenting violence in the region for over three decades and exposing human rights violations committed by Indian government forces, including torture, extrajudicial executions and the use of unmarked mass graves.

Human rights organizations around the world have demanded the release of Mr. Parvez, who was awarded the prestigious Martin Ennals prize in January, named after the First Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Like Mr. Mehraj, Mr. Parvez was arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), which allows people to be imprisoned without trial for an indefinite period.

At least 2,300 people have been arrested under UAPA terms in Indian Kashmir since 2019, when New Delhi controversially revoked the region's semi-autonomy, placing it under its direct rule and deploying some 500,000 troops there.

Half of those arrested are still in prison.

Locals say the crackdown has intensified since 2019. India's press club on Tuesday said it was "


" opposed to the use of UAPA against journalists.


The misuse of this draconian law by the NIA in randomly arresting Irfan Mehraj, a journalist from Kashmir, ominously points to a violation of freedom of speech and expression," the club tweeted



We demand his immediate release


Kashmir, a Himalayan region claimed by India and Pakistan, has been the scene of several wars for its control since the partition of the British Indian Empire in 1947. For more than three decades, separatist groups, claiming the independence of Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan, Indian soldiers are fighting.

Tens of thousands of civilians, soldiers and rebels died in these fights.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-21

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