TDN World Desk: Media fraternity has extended its solidarity to Masrat Zahra, a photo journalist based in Jammu and Kashmir, who has been booked under seditious UAPA law.

On Moday Jammu and Kashmir police issued a statement where they said that a case has been registered against Masrat Zahra, under Section 13 of UAPA and Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code, in the cyber police station, Srinagar.

“The user [Zahra] is also uploading posts that tantamount to glorify the anti-national activities and dent the image of law enforcing agencies besides causing disaffection against the country,” the police said in a press release.

On Saturday evening police approached Zahra over phone and asked her to immediately report to the Cyber Police Station in Srinagar.

“Since there was a lockdown and I didn’t have a curfew pass, I told them [the police] that I cannot come immediately,” Zahra told Scroll.in

“They pressurised me to come but I didn’t go. They didn’t mention a first information report,”added she.

After the harrowing incident, Zahra approached senior journalists’ for help. After that She recieved call from Kashmir Press Club who asked her no to worry as they have spoken to higher authority and the matter was solved so she need not to visit police station. Later, on Monday morning Zahra found on social media that she was booked under amended UAPA law.

Kashmir Press Club (KPC) has issued a statemen demandig revocation of the cases registered against her.

“We stand in solidarity with our colleagues especially Masrat Zahra and declare that journalism is not a crime. The KPC demands that the charges be dropped against her,” KPC said in the statement.

The Network of Women in Media, an organization of Women journalists’ based in India condemned the police action of slapping draconian UAPA law against the photo journalist.

“NWMI [Network of Women in Media] demands that police and security forces stop all such intimidatory and harassing tactics against journalists,” the organisation said.

“Photographs do not lie and her work, as a photojournalist, are clearly uncomfortable for the powers that be,” the NWMI stated further.

Newyork based non-profit organization Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on the Jammu and Kashmir administration “to stop
stop harassing journalists ” and give them freedom to report.

Demanding her release, maktoob media said, ” Journalism is not a crime. We share our concern for the safety and freedom of reporters who are facing various challenges in delivering truth. “

It takes courage to speak truth to power. As a media entity TDN media also extends its solidarity to Masrat Zahra. We believe Journalists are the eyes, ears and voices of any vibrant democracy – curbing its freedom is what concerns us the most.