The amendment of article 370 was challenged in the Supreme Court, a year gone but the hearings are yet to conclude. Internet 4G services terminated in Kashmir not been resumed even after a year
From the report of ‘The Forum for Human Rights in Jammu & Kashmir’, released in July, 2020 below cases been given
Shah had been put under preventive detention on August 7, 2019 and ‘temporarily released’ for three months on December 7, under section 20(2) of the PSA, which allows the government to release a person at any time for any specified period either without conditions or upon such conditions as that person accepts and may at any time cancel his release.
On December 9, the PSA against him was ‘permanently revoked’. Chauvinist as his post was, it hardly qualified as sedition.
On April 21, the same cyber police cell booked journalist and writer Gowher Geelani under Section 13 of the UAPA and Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code, with similar charges of ‘indulging in unlawful activities through social media posts’.
On April 18, the Jammu and Kashmir cyber police booked Kashmiri photo journalist Masrat Zahra under Section 13 of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code for posting “anti-national” content on social media.
The alleged content that she posted were photographs she had taken for a story back in December 2019.
In it, she talks about Arifa Jan, whose husband was allegedly killed by the Indian Army in 2000.
“Arifa Jan suffers frequent panic attacks nearly two decades after her husband was gunned down by Indian army in 2000, she can still hear the gunshots and sees her husband’s blood-soaked body when she thinks of him”.
The Editors’ Guild, Network of Women in Media in India, and Press Club of India and of Kashmir have asked that the charges against Zahra and Geelani be dropped. Zargar’s bail plea was rejected by the lower court on June 5, 2020. On June 19, 2020, she was granted bail on humanitarian grounds by the Delhi High Court.
Telling such a story through photographs has not been classified as an unlawful activity and any attempt to do so would clearly violate the freedom of the media.
Originally intended to target organizations supportive of terrorist activities, the 1967 UAPA was amended in August 2019 around the same time as Kashmir’s special status was abolished and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act was passed to include prosecution of individuals.
In the meantime, a large number of students and human rights activists have been charged under it, including pregnant Kashmiri student Safoora Zargar, who was active in student protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (also under challenge in the Supreme Court) at the Jamia Millia Islamia University and was arrested and charged under the amended UAPA on April 10, 2020.
On June 29, 2020, Kashmiri NRI businessman Mubeen Shah was charged with sedition because he had called for a boycott of non-Kashmiris seeking to acquire land with the new domicile certificates issued by the government.
While no charges were lodged against him, journalist Ashiq Peerzada of The Hindu was subjected to 12 hours of questioning by the Jammu and Kashmir police over filing what they claimed was ‘fake news’.