Kashmir: Journalist Detained by Security Forces Released

Irfan Amin Malik, a journalist with Greater Kashmir, was picked up by security forces at around 11 pm on Wednesday.

Srinagar: The journalist working with a local daily in Kashmir who had been detained in a late night raid at his home in Tral town of Pulwama, has been released, J&K government spokesman Rohit Kansal said.

Irfan Amin Malik, who works for Greater Kashmir, was picked up by security forces at around 11 pm on Wednesday, Malik’s mother Haseena Jan told The Wire.

She said the security forces, “gate-crashed” their home. “They asked for him (Malik) and without listening to us or saying anything, they took him away. We were shocked and followed the forces to the police station (Tral),” said Haseena.

Malik, 26, has been a journalist for the past four years. A police official from Awantipora, while confirming Malik’s detention, did not provide any reasons for it.

On the afternoon of August 16, Malik’s father Mohammad Amin and mother travelled to the media facilitation centre set up by the government in Srinagar. They informed the media about their son’s detention.

The family members said that on Thursday morning, they went to meet the superintendent of police (Awantipora) Tahir Saleem regarding their son’s detention. “We were allowed to meet my son in the police lock up, but neither the police nor the district administration is telling us the reasons for his detention,” said Haseena.

The complete information blockade the Valley is reeling under for the past 11 days after the government of India read down Article 370 has left the journalist’s family restless.

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“We are not able to contact anybody. We tried to meet several officials, but they were apparently not in their offices. We are worried about our son,” said Haseena.

In the afternoon, The Wire contacted J&K’s assistant director general of police (law and order) Muneer Khan, who said he will “collect the information and inform the family accordingly”.

Later, the government’s spokesperson Rohit Kansal was also asked about Malik’s detention by media persons. “I have come to know about this detention. We will collect information from the police and share details with the media,” said Kansal, without specifying when the details would be shared with the media.

Malik’s is the first detention of a media person in the Valley since the August 5 decision taken by the Centre to do away with Article 370, which accorded special status to J&K. Amid the uneasy calm in the Valley and with mobile, landline and internet services snapped, media persons have been facing a tough time do their jobs.

Over 1,300 people, including three former chief minister of J&K, ex-ministers and legislators of various political parties have been either jailed or put under house arrest.

Like in other parts of the country, journalists in Kashmir are facing increasing pressure from authorities for criticising government policies and reporting on human rights issues.

A local journalist, Asif Sultan, continues to be in jail after he was detained in August 2018. In February this year, the J&K police filed a chargesheet against him for allegedly sheltering militants, after keeping him in detention for six months.