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Kashmir journalist Gowhar Geelani booked for social media posts ‘glorifying terrorism’




Gowhar Geelani | Twitter

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Cyber Police Tuesday night said it filed a case against a Kashmiri author-journalist Gowhar Geelani for “glorifying terrorism in Kashmir Valley” through social media posts, the second such FIR to be filed against a journalist in four days.

Geelani is an independent reporter who has been published by BBC, DailyO, and, among others. He also worked with Deutsche Welle for several years in Germany.

The official statement issued by the police did not cite the sections under which Geelani was booked, but sources said these were similar to those connected with Masrat Zahra, a photojournalist who was charged under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for her social media posts.

The J&K administration has been facing criticism from journalists for its action against Zahra and The Hindu reporter Peerzada Ashiq, who has been questioned in connection with an FIR filed against a report of his.

Also read: UAPA charge on J&K journalist is misuse of power, effort to terrorise media: Editors Guild

Case against Geelani

A senior police officer told ThePrint that authorities had been “compiling information” about Geelani’s social media activity for some time now.

In a press release, the police said: “Cyber Police Station Kashmir Zone, Srinagar, has received information through reliable sources that an individual namely ‘Gowher Geelani’ is indulging in unlawful activities through his posts and writings on Social Media platform (sic) which are prejudicial to the national integrity, sovereignty and security of India.

“The unlawful activities include glorifying terrorism in Kashmir Valley, causing disaffection against the country and causing fear or alarm in the minds of public that may lead to commission of offences against public tranquility and the security of State.”

The statement further said that several complaints have also been received against Geelani for “threatening and intimidation”.

“A Case FIR No. 11/2020 under the relevant sections of law has been registered at Cyber Police Station Kashmir and investigation initiated,” it said.

Also read: ‘Appalling condition’ for media — Kashmir journalists ask govt to stop muzzling free speech

Journalists under fire

Zahra was booked under UAPA Saturday for publishing “anti-national” posts on social media. In a statement released Monday, police didn’t specify which posts of Zahra were anti-national, but said she had uploaded photographs which could “provoke the public to disturb law and order”.

Zahra was called in for questioning Tuesday at the Cyber Police Station in Srinagar.

The Hindu reporter Ashiq was called in for questioning by two different police stations Sunday before an FIR was filed Monday in connection with a story reported by him.

“Describing a report headlined ‘Kin allowed to exhume bodies of militants in Baramulla‘ published by The Hindu on April 19 as ‘fake news’, the Jammu and Kashmir police have registered an FIR in the matter,” read The Hindu report on 20 April.

The report was on two militants killed in an encounter in South Kashmir’s Shopian region. Two families had come forward to claim the bodies of the slain militants whom the authorities had said were unidentified.

The administration had buried the slain militants in a graveyard in Sheeri, Baramulla, reserved for foreign, unidentified or unclaimed militants.

Also read: I’m speechless, says J&K journalist Masrat Zahra after being booked for ‘anti-national’ posts


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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