NIA Court frames charges against Kashmirwalla editor Fahad Shah

| Updated: 19 March, 2023 7:41 pm IST

A special National Investigation Agency court has framed charges against Kashmiri journalist Fahad Shah and academician Abdul Aala Fazili for writing and publishing a “seditious” article on a news website named Kashmirwallah.

The duo is accused of receiving Pakistan’s support for attempting to revive pro-terrorist, pro-separatist ecosystem in the valley.

The duo had been spreading anti-India narrative by exploiting the digital platform under a concealed and camouflaged set-up, with the help of illicit funding received from hostile foreign agencies and proscribed terrorist organisations, as per NIA.

“The investigation has established that the accused were in touch with secessionists across the border and also with some identified terrorists locally. Through their publications the duo have brazenly advocated terrorism and glorified the terrorists with the sole intention to radicalize the youth of the J&K and to entice and incite them in joining secessionist and terrorist organisations,” the NIA said in a statement.

As per the chargesheet, “On 16.03.2022, Special Judge designated under NIA Act, Jammu Ashwani Kumar framed charges against two accused namely Abdul Ala Fazili and Peerzada Fahad Shah in a State Investigation Agency (SIA) investigated case FIR No. 01/2022 of PS SIA Jammu.”

NIA in its statement has said, “The case pertains to an information received by PS CIJ (SIA Jammu) on 04.04.2022 along with a copy of an article titled ‘The Shackles of Slavery Will Break’ written by one Aala Fazili and published in the digital magazine (portal) ‘The Kashmir Walla’ through its Editor-in-Chief-cum-Director Peerzada Fahad Shah. The duo accused under an active conspiracy and Pakistan’s support had resurrected a platform reviving the narrative in support of the terrorist and separatist ecosystem.”

This is for the first time the court has framed charges for writing seditious material. Bringing it up to the stage of framing of charges after preliminary hearings in such matters is usually a very difficult task. The write up for which the investigation was conducted and charges were framed is also made available to the court after exhaustive investigation into the digital devices of both the accused.

Jammu and Kashmir Police had arrested journalist Fahad Shah last year in three cases for “glorifying terrorism, spreading fake news & inciting the general public for creating law and order (L&O) situations”.

The 33-year-old was arrested for social media posts “tantamount to glorifying the terrorist activities and causing a dent to the image of law enforcing agencies besides causing ill-will & disaffection against the country.”

Ala Fazili, a PHD scholar was booked in April last year under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He was arrested in the above mentioned case after the State Investigation Agency conducted searches at the office of The Kashmir Walla in Rajbagh area of Srinagar and the houses detained editor-in-chief Fahad Shah and Fazili. The SIA had seized all electronic equipment like laptops, mobile phones, computers along with other accessories and conducted detailed technical investigation into the matter.

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