Indian Forces Raid Four Journalists in Occupied Kashmir
September 08, 2021
On Wednesday, police searched the homes of four journalists in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IOK), raising fears of a further crackdown on press freedom in the disputed region. Following the raids in Srinagar, the region’s capital, the four journalists were called up to local police stations and questioned. The reason for the raids was not specified by police. Police seized documents and electronic devices belonging to the journalists and their spouses, including cell phones and laptop computers.
Three of the journalists have written for international publications, and one is the editor of a monthly news magazine.
Journalists in the IOK have long worked under pressure and have been targeted, sometimes fatally, by both the Indian government and militant groups. Journalists have reported increased police harassment and violence since India terminated Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status and divided the region into two federally governed territories in 2019 amid an extraordinary lockdown. Many journalists have been arrested, beaten, harassed, and sometimes investigated under anti-terrorism legislation.
The Kashmir Press Club, an elected body of journalists in the region has repeatedly urged the Indian government to allow them to report freely claiming that security agencies were intimidating journalists and muzzling the press through physical attacks, threats, and summons. After India decided to withdraw the region’s special status in August 2019, journalism in occupied Kashmir came to capture for months.
In June of last year, India implemented a contentious media policy that gives the government greater authority to censor independent reporting. Most of the local press dried under the pressure, fearing retaliation from government agencies. Journalists have also come under criticism as a result of anonymous online threats linked to insurgents fighting against Indian rule, according to the government.