A Kashmir-based journalist has alleged that he was "slapped" and "intimidated" by the police after writing a story that was critical of the Jammu and Kashmir police.
Auqib Javeed, the journalist in question, published his piece in Article 14 last week, on how Twitter users who "often posted tweets about contentious issues in Kashmir" were being interrogated by the police. The story called the police "the real cyber bully".
After the story was published, on September 18, Javeed said he was verbally summoned by the cyber police station.
Writing in Article 14, Javeed said he was asked to go to the Cargo Centre and meet SP Bhatii, "who heads the cyber police and leads counterinsurgency operations" in the valley. Javeed had spoken to Bhatii in August for his piece, and the latter was quoted in the final version of the story.
At the Cargo Centre, Javeed said, "I heard the sounds of boots approaching, and as I turned to see who it was, a masked policeman slapped me hard on my left cheek. He did sound like a local. 'Kis liye aaya hai tu (why have you come?),' he demanded. Once I recovered from the shock of the slap, I said, 'SP saab has called me.' He slapped me hard again and left."
According to Javeed, SP Bhatii then arrived and asked him, "How could you write that cyber police are bullying people?" Bhatii also told him the story he had written was "concocted". He told the journalist that the story used a picture of the Cargo Centre and not the cyber police station, Javeed said, and said the story was "fake and baseless".
He wrote: "He said I had maligned the image of the cyber police, and he threatened to book me under various sections of law."
Article 14's editor and cofounder, Samar Halarnkar, said Bhatii spoke to him on the telephone. On Bhatii's insistence, the website tweeted about the photo used in Javeed's report.
Javeed said his phone was taken away by the police, as well as his press card. Both were later returned, but Javeed alleged that many of his apps were "not opening", and his August 20 call record with Bhatii had been deleted.
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