Authorities in Indian held Kashmir and the Indian state of Chhattisgarh must immediately and unconditionally release journalists Sajad Gul and Jitendra Jaiswal, respectively, and drop all investigations related to their journalistic work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Thursday.
At approximately 10 p.m. on January 5, authorities in Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) detained Sajad Gul, a freelance journalist who contributes to the privately owned news portal The Kashmir Walla, from his home in the northern Bandipora district of IIOJK in relation to a video he posted to his Twitter, according to news reports, a statement by the Kashmir Press Club, and a person familiar with the case, who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisal by authorities. The video, which has since been removed, shows women protesting the killing of a local commander, according to The Kashmir Walla.
On January 8, the IIOJK police issued a statement saying Gul was arrested for allegedly provoking people to “resort to violence and disturb public peace” by posting an “objectionable” video on his social media and accused him of spreading disinformation “under the garb of a journalist,” according to those sources.
In a separate case, yesterday morning police in Raipur, the capital of central Chhattisgarh state, arrested Jitendra Jaiswal, editor of the privately owned Hindi-language local news website Bharat Samman, after he reported on a protest held shortly after midnight last night by a group of police officers’ family members regarding alleged corrupt practices in housing allotment, according to the journalist’s wife, Priya Jaiswal. She spoke to the CPJ in a phone interview, while another local journalist, who spoke to the CPJ on the condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisal.
Rajesh Chaudhary, deputy superintendent of the Raipur police, told the CPJ via phone call that Jaiswal was arrested for violating Covid-19 restrictions by organizing the protest and had been detained in Raipur Central Jail. Priya Jaiswal denied the police’s claim and told CPJ that Jaiswal was covering the protest as a journalist.
This report was first published in Business Recorder on Jan 13, 2022.