Kashmiri woman photojournalist booked over ‘anti-national’ posts on Facebook

Kashmiri woman photojournalist booked over ‘anti-national’ posts on Facebook

The police in Kashmir have booked a young woman photojournalist, Masrat Zahra, under the Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act (UAPA) for “uploading anti-national posts with criminal intention to induce the youth and promote offence against public tranquillity”.

A statement by the police’s cyber division said it received information through reliable sources that one Facebook user, namely Masrat Zahra, was uploading anti-national posts with criminal intention.

The Facebook user was also believed to be uploading photographs that can provoke the public to disturb law and order. The user was also uploading posts that were tantamount to glorifying anti-national activities and denting the image of law enforcement agencies, causing disaffection against the country.

Accordingly, a case, FIR No 10/2020 U/S UA(P) Act and 505-IPC dated 18-04-2020, stands registered in Cyber police station , Kashmir Zone, Srinagar and investigation has been set in motion, a police statement said.

It said the general public is advised to refrain from misuse of social media platforms and circulation of unauthenticated information through such platforms.

SP Cyber Security Tahir Ashraf confirmed to THE WEEK that an FIR under UAPA has been lodged against Zahra and said it was done after police received complaints that she was uploading posts and photographs that were detrimental to peace and public order.

However, Zahra told THE WEEK she was uploading her work on social media. “I am a freelance photojournalist and was only showcasing my work on social media,’’ she said.

She sad few days back she got call from the police and they asked her to go to their cargo office.

“I told them I will come tomorrow as my father was not home,” she said. “Then they called again and contacted the vice president of the Press Club.”

She said the Press Club raised the issue with director (information) Syed Sehrish.

She said Sehrish told her she has spoken to the police and the matter has been settled.

She said now the police has invoked UAPA against her and she feels intimidated.

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