UAPA case: Kashmir journalist Sultan released after five years - Hindustan Times
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UAPA case: Kashmir journalist Sultan released after five years

ByAshiq Hussain, Srinagar
Feb 29, 2024 10:48 PM IST

Sultan, 35, was released on Tuesday from Ambedkar Nagar jail in UP some 80 days after the Jammu and Kashmir high court quashed his detention order on December 7, 2023 terming it “illegal” and “unsustainable”.

Kashmir journalist Asif Sultan reached his home in Srinagar on Thursday after spending over five years in jail following his arrest in August 2018 under a case of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and subsequently Public Safety Act (PSA).

UAPA case: Kashmir journalist Sultan released after five years
UAPA case: Kashmir journalist Sultan released after five years

Sultan, 35, was released on Tuesday from Ambedkar Nagar jail in UP some 80 days after the Jammu and Kashmir high court quashed his detention order on December 7, 2023 terming it “illegal” and “unsustainable”.

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Family members of Asif Sultan claimed that he has now been detained by the police in Srinagar. They claimed that he was first called to Batamaloo police station and then lodged in Rainawari police station. The family was not informed about the cause of detention. When HT called north city SP Showkat Ahmad Dar, he said he will confirm the news but later, he did not attend the calls.

“He reached his home in Srinagar on Thursday afternoon after his release,” said a close friend of the Sultan’s family wishing not to be named.

He said it took around 80 days for Sultan to be released owing to some ‘complicated procedures’ for his release. “He had to get a no objection certificate (or clearance) from police of every district of the valley attesting that he is not required in any other case. Those had to be compiled by the Srinagar deputy commissioner who would give the final go-ahead,” he said.

A single judge bench of justice Vinod Chatterji Koul on December 7 had granted the relief to Sultan, an assistant editor with the now defunct monthly magazine Kashmir Narrator, on the ground that the detaining authority had failed to provide to the journalist a copy of the first information report (FIR) and other documents, on the basis of which the detention order was issued on April 9, 2022.

Sultan was arrested from his home in Batamaloo in August 2018 under the UAPA and various other sections of the IPC after he wrote an article on slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, who was shot dead by security forces in 2016.

In April 2022, Sultan was granted bail by a national investigation agency (NIA) court, but was immediately again detained by police under the PSA on April 2, 2022, under which a person can be jailed without any trial for up to two years. A PSA order is issued by the district magistrate.

The state has maintained that the activities of Sultan were allegedly “highly prejudicial to the security of the state”. But his family has denied the allegations saying he was “arrested for his journalistic work”.

During detention, he was awarded the annual John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award by the National Press Club of America in 2019.

On November 22, 2023, Kashmir journalist and editor of The Kashmir Walla magazine Fahad Shah was released after being granted bail by the J&K high court, after 21 months of being incarcerated in a case under the UAPA.

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