Kashmir journalist Fahad Shah remains in detention: update

Fahad Shah, who writes for The Christian Science Monitor from Kashmir, India, was detained for publishing "anti-national" content. 

Dar Yasin/AP/File
Fahad Shah, editor-in-chief of Kashmir Walla (seated by window, looking at computer), meets with other Kashmiri journalists in Srinagar, India, on Jan. 20, 2022.

Fahad Shah, who has contributed to the Monitor from Kashmir for several years, was arrested by Kashmir authorities on February 4, 2022, and continues to be held in police custody. Mr. Shah’s lawyers were finally able to get interim bail granted for Mr. Shah Saturday, February 26, only to see him immediately rearrested for another case; there are three in total against him. 

As we shared with readers when he was first detained, the situation in Kashmir is increasingly oppressive for journalists. Fear of publishing stories about Mr. Shah’s arrest means few people locally are aware of what is happening. Mr. Shah, who is editor of the Kashmir Walla, had come under increasing pressure for his publication’s efforts to continue to report honestly and widely about Kashmiri life, including stories around politics and security. Mr. Shah had been charged with sedition in his first case for stories that police said were “glorifying terrorist activities.” These included a piece about a deadly police raid. The family member of one young man who was killed was quoted as saying he was innocent; the piece also included the perspectives of security officials, who called the young man a "hybrid militant."

Mr. Shah’s friends have worked to get access to him on a regular basis, offering support with everything from blankets to books. On the evening of February 26, he was shifted to ImamSahib Police Station, which is about 35 miles from the capital city, Srinagar. Mr. Shah's friends keep him informed of what is going on with his detention, but the uncertainty exerts intense mental pressure on Mr. Shah. 

The staff of the Kashmir Walla continues to publish and advocate for Mr. Shah. As they wrote in a recent statement: "The Kashmir Walla team continue to repose the faith in judiciary and hope that supremacy of law will prevail again."

The Monitor will continue to support Mr. Shah as well, and we are very grateful to the numerous readers who have reached out to offer prayers and words of support.

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