Kashmiri Journalist Rearrested Shortly After 5-Year Release

Asif Sultan, re-arrested in connection with an old unlawful activities case, days after his release following over five years of detention since 2018

Kashmiri Journalist Rearrested Shortly After 5-Year Release

According to The Hindu, Kashmiri journalist Asif Sultan freed after five years, was rearrested in Srinagar just two days later. 

Sultan's ordeal began in September 2018 when he was initially arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly providing logistical support to a banned militant group while working as a reporter with a local magazine.

As per Kashmir Life, despite being granted bail by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in April 2022 due to a lack of evidence linking him to any militant group, Sultan was later booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA). 

After spending over five years in detention, Sultan was finally released from the Ambedkar Nagar district jail in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday. However, his freedom was short-lived as he was taken into custody again the same night he returned home.

This recent arrest, as reported by The Independent, adds to the growing concerns over the crackdown on media in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The situation has worsened since India revoked the region's semi-autonomy in 2019, leading to severe security measures and restrictions on communication.

The government's media policy has sought to control independent reporting, resulting in the arrest and interrogation of numerous journalists under harsh anti-terror laws. 

Sultan's case is just one example of journalists facing intimidation and harassment for simply doing their jobs. Press freedom advocates, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, have called for Sultan's immediate release and an end to the targeting of journalists in Kashmir.

Sultan's arrest comes amidst a larger media crackdown, raising worries about democracy and fundamental rights in Indian-controlled Kashmir.