Journalism under siege: The Kashmiri journalist who keeps getting arrested in IOK


On 29 February, journalist Asif Sultan arrived at his home in Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir after being held on remand in jail for more than 2,000 days.

He barely spent five hours with his family before he was called to a local police station, where he was re-arrested.

“We had no idea that he would be arrested again,” says Mohammad Sultan, his father.

Asif Sultan, 36, was first arrested in August 2018 and charged under an anti-terror law called the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) which makes it extremely difficult to get bail. Police accused him of helping and sheltering anti-India militants, which he denies.

His colleagues have alleged that he was targeted for writing an article in 2018 about Burhan Wani, a young militant leader whose death in a gun battle with government forces had sparked protests and deadly violence two years earlier.

For decades, journalists in Kashmir have had to tread carefully between the administration and militant groups while doing their jobs. But they say the federal government’s crackdown on press freedom has worsened since August 2019 – that’s when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s partial autonomy and divided the state into two federally-administered territories.

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