Police’s witch hunting

Published at September 06, 2018 12:49 AM 0Comment(s)2670views

Police’s witch hunting

A number of journalism bodies have slammed the police for arresting journalist Aasif Sultan who works for a local magazine. In a unanimous voice bodies like Kashmir Journalists Association, Kashmir Working Journalists Association, Kashmir Video Journalists Association, Kashmir Editors Guild and Indian Federation of Journalists have not only condemned the arrest of the scribe which reportedly has been carried out on “baseless” and “concocted” charges but also demanded the immediate release of Aasif who was detained for six days in connection with a report. The picture that has emerged so far reveals that the scribe after being harassed by the police to disclose identities of his source was booked for complicity in harbouring militants. The charges being of serious nature, the journalism fraternity is trying to get the complete picture from the moment the report was published till his detention and later arrest by the police. While the charges have been dubbed “dubious” by local media fraternity, the silence of police top brass on Aasif’s detention and arrest of the scribe has send disturbing waves across the state. There is also a section of media that have highlighted the issue of government forces trying to muzzle the local press and rob it of its freedom. If the police officials are so certain about the involvement of the scribe they should disclose the evidence that might support their theory. In any case the allegations by the fraternity are sufficient to call for an intervention of the top brass. Unfortunately, the incident serves as a reminder of the notorious false implication cases of Delhi police, the witch hunting that led to the arrest of many innocent people, which were exposed in the report “Framed, Damned, Acquitted: Dossiers of a ‘Very’ Special Cell” prepared by Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Association. This is certainly not the first time that the police and the press are having a head-on collision; apparently there has been some pressure building up lately that is bound to produce an effect. While the scribes see the space to work freely shrinking, the larger fallout may not be a misplaced idea. The government must take a special note of the allegations leveled by different journalism bodies and look into the matter and appoint a special team to carry out an impartial investigation. At the same time it should direct the police to provide complete details about the evidences that prompted police to file the charges.



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