Journalists’ associations in Kashmir have condemned the recent National Investigations Agency (NIA) raids on a senior journalist and a daily newspaper.
On Wednesday, the NIA conducted searches at 10 locations in Srinagar which included the office of Greater Kashmir which is largest circulating English daily in Jammu and Kashmir. It also searched the premises of Agence France Press's Kashmir correspondent, Parvaiz Bukhari.
Nine journalists’ bodies including the Kashmir Press club, Journalist Federation of Kashmir, Kashmir Journalist Corp, Kashmir National Television Journalist Association, Kashmir Photo Journalist Association issued a joint statement against the NIA raids.
“We condemn the continuous harassment of media institutions and Kashmiri journalists, including Parvaiz Bukhari, an internationally known journalist, who works for Agency France Press as its Kashmir correspondent,” the joint statement said.
“In recent months raids and continued harassment of journalists has become a regular norm and we see it as a broader tactic to intimidate and silence professional journalists, who have been reporting on the region without any prejudice for decades. Since August 5 2019, dozens of Kashmiri journalists have been questioned, summoned, harassed and even physically assaulted by the authorities under the garb of various charges,” the statement said.
It added that for decades journalists in Kashmir have been working under extremely hostile conditions and this constant harassment only obstructs the delivery of professional obligations.
For its part, the NIA had said that the raids were part of the investigation into a case filed under terror laws in October over the allegations that several Kashmir civil society groups were collecting funds to sustain “secessionist and terrorist activities in J&K”.