Srinagar: Kashmir Working Journalist Association (KWJA) and Kashmir Journalist Association (KJA) have taken strong note of the summoning of a Srinagar based journalist Aqib Javed by National Investigative Agency for questioning to New Delhi, terming it as intimidation and harassment of Kashmiri journalist.
According to a statement released by the spokespersons of KWJA and KJA, Aqib Javed Hakim, an accredited journalist working with daily Kashmir Observer has been summoned to New Delhi by NIA, apparently for what appears to be a story he reported.
A joint statement from the associations, condemning the move, said the summoning reflects highhanded approach of the federal agency to ascribe motive to journalists’ professional work, and summon them like criminals.
It is also highly regrettable that Aqib has been summoned, out of station, at a very short notice, without giving a damn to how he manages to do it.
The NIA’s ham-handed approach towards journalism has earlier also been exposed in its detention of the Kashmiri journalist Kamran Yousuf, last year, in whose case, the NIA even tried to define journalism by its own skewed standards.
Like in India, journalists in Kashmir are coming under unwarranted threats and scrutiny, from both state and non state players. It is no surprise that India has dipped on the press freedom index, prompting global watchdog, RSF, to issue incident report on India. It would be in the national interest for the federal authorities, as well as J&K, to improve their record for press freedom, rather than resort to authoritative measures, that further malign the image of the country.
We also realize that the latest summon seems to part of a larger conspiracy to muzzle press freedom in Kashmir and terrorise its journalist fraternity.
The journalist fraternity in Kashmir cannot take the act lying down, and is watching the developments keenly.
We would also appeal the Governor J&K, N N Vohra to intervene in the matter, and ensure an end to harassment and intimidation of Kashmiri journalists by the policing agencies, failing which the journalists would be forced to stop working en-masse in protest.