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J&K court issues arrest warrant against journalist Gowhar Geelani

J&K court issues arrest warrant against journalist Gowhar Geelani

Ground Report | New Delhi: A local court has issued an arrest warrant for Kashmiri journalist and author Gowhar Geelani and ordered police to bring him before it on February 19. The arrest warrant for Gowhar was issued by Shopian First Class Executive Magistrate Court for his failure to appear in court.

The written document binds an individual not to cause ‘public harm’ and not to disturb the ‘law and order situation’. Human rights groups, however, see the document as a restriction on freedom of expression.

It is said that since Gowhar Geelani did not arrive on February 3 to sign the document, his arrest and security detention orders have been issued. According to local media, under normal circumstances, a person can be taken into custody but Gohar Gilani, who has already been arrested once under the ‘Prevention of Illegal Activities Act’, could have his detention indefinitely. 

The legal action against the author of the book ‘Kashmir, Rage and Reason’ published under Rupa Publications was due to his tweet, in which he shared a report published in a local newspaper on February 1. The report reported a militant attack in a Shopian village and a policeman was injured. The tweet was later deleted by the author.

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Two days later, a directive from Shopian’s executive magistrate said Gilani had “spread information on social media that endangered the life of an injured man.”

Significantly, Gowhar Geelani has been critical of the government’s repeal of Article 370 in August 2019, which gave special status to Kashmir. He has been constantly writing on his social media accounts about the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir. However, his social media accounts have remained silent since the summons was issued by the executive magistrate.

Just two days before the arrest warrants for Gohar Gilani, Fahad Shah, an award-winning journalist and editor of Kashmirwalla, was arrested on charges of publishing ‘anti-national material’.

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