In a first, a designated court here has framed charges against a journalist and a university scholar for writing and publishing a “seditious” article on a news portal.
The case against arrested journalist Peerzada Fahad Shah and Kashmir University scholar Abdul Ala Fazili was probed by the State Investigation Agency (SIA), which successfully brought it up to the stage of framing charges, an official said.
He said the special judge designated under the NIA Act, Ashwani Kumar, framed the charges against Shah and Fazili on Thursday.
The case pertains to information received by the CIJ police station (SIA-Jammu) on April 4 last year, along with a copy of an article titled “The Shackles of Slavery Will Break”, written by Fazili and published in digital magazine (portal) ‘The Kashmir Walla’ through its editor-in-chief-cum-director Shah, according to the official.
“The duo, under an active conspiracy and Pakistan’s support, resurrected a platform reviving the narrative in support of the terrorist and separatist ecosystem. They were spreading an anti-India narrative by exploiting digital platforms under a concealed and camouflaged set up with the help of illicit funding received from hostile foreign agencies and proscribed terrorist organisations,” he said.
After hearing the contentions, the court found sufficient material collected by the SIA against the accused and framed charges against Fazili and Shah.
Fazili has been charged under sections 13 (unlawful activity) and 18 (conspiracy, advocating, abetting, inciting, facilitating a terrorist act or any preparation to commit a terrorist act) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and sections 121 (abetting waging of war against the Government of India), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Shah has been charged under sections 13 and 18 of the UAPA, IPC sections 121 and 153B and sections 35 (accepting foreign contribution in contravention of provisions of FCRA, or any order or rule therein) and 39 (violation of FCRA by a company tantamount to contravention by the persons in charge or responsible for business of such company) of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, the official said.
He said the probe has established that the accused were in touch with secessionists across the border and also with some local terrorists.
“Through their publications, they have brazenly advocated terrorism and glorified terrorists with the sole intention to radicalise youngsters in Jammu and Kashmir and entice and incite them in joining secessionist and terrorist organisations,” the official said.
He said the SIA filed a charge sheet in the case in the special judge’s court on October 13 last year after procuring the requisite government sanction.