On July 9, The Kashmir Walla’s editor- Fahad Shah, received a formal summon from Safakadal police station saying that “your presence is necessary for the purpose of enquiry into the offence committed under section 147, 307, 109, 501, 505 IPC”. The Kashmir Walla covered the gunfight in Nawakadal neighbourhood of Srinagar on May 19.
Here are five components of the story:
- Two militants were killed, and 19 residential houses were damaged in the gunfight.
- On May 20, Shah was enquired for about four hours, by senior officials of Jammu and Kashmir police. They alleged the editor for an attempt to “defame” the police through his coverage.
- After being explained by the editor about the coverage being based on undisputed facts, eyewitness accounts, interviews of the civilian population, and the police- he was allowed to go.
- The Kashmir Walla is among the oldest independent media outlets in Kashmir and has withstood successive lockdowns.
- This shows an increasing disregard towards freedom of press and how the authorities are never ready to respond to critical but important questions raised by journalists.