SRINAGAR

Kashmir journalist alleges harassment over Hizb video

PTI8_22_2016_000242A (Representative image) Curfew in Kashmir | PTI

A Srinagar-based journalist who runs a news portal said he was questioned and "harassed" by police over a video statement by Hizbul Mujahideen he had published on his website a month ago.

In an email to IANS, Vijdan Kawoosa, who also writes for some international websites, said he got the Hizb video through an anonymous email. 

He said he had run the clip with the disclaimer that its authenticity was subject to verification.

On Wednesday evening, he was summoned to the police cyber cell and accused of sympathizing with the militant group and being "on their payrolls" or having links with militants.

He said all this happened "only because my website was the first to share their statement", which was also carried by various media houses in Jammu and Kashmir and beyond.

Kawoosa alleged that three police officers "shouted at me, saying the news post on my site JandKnow.com instigated youth to take to violence and that I was an equal party to the crime."

"They threatened me to reveal the person I was in ‘contact' with in the militant group. I showed them all my emails and also the particular email. I gave them access to my e-mail account on which I had received the anonymously e-mailed statement."

He said police took a "note of most of my e-mail addresses, phone numbers and family members and also took the password of my Facebook profile to which my website's page is linked".

He said his driving license was also seized.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has come under flak for allegedly curbing media freedom in the wake of an ongoing agitation that has crippled normal life in the Kashmir Valley for more than three months now. 

Over 90 people have been killed, some 12,000 injured and thousands arrested in the unrest sparked by the July 8 killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani.

A crackdown was also launched against the Srinagar-based media in the initial days of the unrest after which newspapers in the valley couldn't hit the newstands for days. 

A Srinagar-based daily, Kashmir Reader, has been banned from printing and publication over allegations of inciting trouble.

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