Finally, some justice for journalists Sajjad Gul and Fahad Shah, both in jail from January 16 and February 4, 2022 respectively. While bail was granted to “The Kashmirwalla” Editor Fahad Shah, charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA),1967, for an article published by his news portal eleven years ago, Gul’s detention order under the Public Safety Act (PSA), was summarily quashed.
In their order granting bail to Shah, a division bench of the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court comprising Justice Anil Sreedharan and Justice Mohan Lal, said that ““The existence of prima facie evidence against the accused is to no avail if there is no justification for the arrest based on the doctrine of clear and present danger to the society.” Moreover, the investigating agency could bring no evidence that the publication of the article provoked people to take up the arms against the State.
Since February, Shah has gone through an incredible round of “revolving door” arrests, being charged under the draconian UAPA and undergoing preventive detention under the repressive Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA). As the order said:
“The run up to the present case against the appellant is relevant. As per the averments in the appeal, the appellant was arrested by Pulwama police station in connection with FIR No. 19/2022, in which he was granted bail by the TADA/POTA Court at Srinagar. However, the police, without releasing the appellant, shifted his custody to Shopian police station in FIR No. 6/2021, in which too the appellant was granted bail by the court of the Munsiff, Shopian. However, the appellant was still not released, and his custody was shifted to Safa Kadal police station in another case registered there. It is also averred that before the court of competent jurisdiction at Srinagar could decide his bail application, the appellant was taken into preventive detention under the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978.”
The author of the article, ‘The shackles of slavery will break’ , a Kashmir University student, Abdul Aala Fazili, is still under arrest. The court maintained that the opinion piece does call for secession of Jammu and Kashmir but not through violence or an armed insurrection.
Read the entire order here:
J & K HC orders Sajjad Gul release, says PSA charges based on “vague grounds”
After spending more than 23 months in jail, journalist Sajjad Gul is all set to be released as the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court summarily quashed his detention under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) and said that there was nothing to show that his activities could be ‘prejudicial to the security of the State’.
Gul was detained on Jan 16, 2022.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice M A Chowdhary was categorical in stating that the charges under PSA was based on ‘vague grounds’. According to reports, the judges ordered that the authorities release Gul in an order dated November 9 and uploaded only on November 18.
Scores of Kashmiris have been detained under the PSA, a repressive law by which they can be detained without trial for upto two years on grounds of national security and upto one year for maintenance of public order.
Read the entire order here: