Jailed scribe Fahad Shah. booked under PSA in J&K

Over a month after his arrest, jailed journalist Fahad Shah has been booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

While Shah was arrested on February 4, he was re-arrested by the J&K Police after he was bailed out by the court twice.

On Monday, Shah was booked under the PSA that allows the government to put a person behind bars without a trial for up to a year. “Sensing that the Hon’ble Special court may grant bail as the allegations levelled against the accused do not prima facie connect him with the commission of any offence, the authorities have taken recourse to J&K Public Safety Act,” Shah’s lawyer Umair Ronga tweeted.

Shah was arrested for his social media posts that allegedly “caused (a) dent to the image of law enforcing agencies besides causing ill will and disaffection against the country”. “Fahad Shah is wanted in three cases for glorifying terrorism, spreading fake news and inciting general public for creating law and order situations,” the police had said.

While Shah was initially remanded in 10-day police custody, he was bailed out by the NIA court on February 26.

However, instead of releasing him on bail, the J&K Police re-arrested him in another case filed against him in south Kashmir’s Shopian district. On March 5, the Shopian court granted bail to Shah. And this time again, the J&K Police re-arrested him in another case registered against him at the Safakadal police station in Srinagar. The case pertained to 2020. His lawyer had applied for bail in the third case as well.

Shah, 33, is the editor of an online news portal, “The Kashmirwalla”, that also runs a weekly newspaper. He has also been contributing stories to various international newspapers and magazines.

Shah is the second journalist to be booked under the PSA this year. Earlier, the J&K Police booked journalist Sajad Gul, a resident of north Kashmir’s Hajin, under the Act.

The PSA dossier of Gul listed out “apprehension that you may get bailed out by Hon’ble court of law” and that “you being well educated can use social media as a tool to provoke against the government establishment” as the two of the many reasons for booking him under the Public Safety Act. Gul was a journalism student and was also working as an intern with Shah’s “The Kashmirwalla”.

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