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India detains Kashmiri journalist for ‘sedition’

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SRINAGAR: Police in Indian held Kashmir have arrested a young journalist on accusations of publishing “anti-national content”.

Fahad Shah, the editor of news portal Kashmir Walla, was summoned for questioning at a police station in southern Pulwama town on Friday and later arrested there, police said.

Shah was arrested under India’s harsh anti-terror and sedition laws, which include punishment of up to seven years.

In a statement late on Friday, police said Shah was identified among “some Facebook users and portals” that had published “anti-national content”, without specifying the content.

It said such content was posted with “criminal intention to create fear among (the) public” and could “provoke the public to disturb law & order”. It also said such content was “tantamount to glorifying the terrorist activities”.

The case relates to a gunfight between separatists trapped inside a civilian home and Indian troops in Pulwama on January 30.

Police had said a Kashmiri separatist commander was killed in the fighting along with a Pakistani and another local separatist.

They described the fourth slain teenage boy, the house-owner’s son, as a “hybrid militant”, a term authorities began using last year for alleged militants with no police record and who operate as civilians.

Kashmir Walla carried a series of reports following the gunfight, presenting both sides of the story.

One video report quoted family members of the slain teenage boy refuting the police claim. Another video quoted the boy’s sister contradicting an earlier statement from the family.

Shah and other reporters associated with Kashmir Walla have been questioned for their reporting by police several times in the last few years.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim it in full. Since 1989, a full-blown armed rebellion has raged in India-held Kashmir seeking a united Kashmir — either under Pakistani rule or independent of both countries.

The region is one of the most heavily militarized in the world. Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the raging conflict.

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