Journalist Fahad Shah granted bail

SRINAGAR — The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir has granted bail to a Kashmiri journalist Fahad Shah.

Fahad Shah, the editor of The Kashmir Walla was booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and was facing charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Shah has been in jail for 21 months over reporting and articles published by his news portal The Kashmir Walla.

The access to The Kashmir Walla’s website was blocked while its social media accounts were taken down by the Government in August this year.

Apart from granting bail, the Court also quashed several charges against Shah including “abetting terrorism, waging war against the country and promoting enmity”, a member of Shah’s legal team said according to The Hindu report.

He said, Shah will continue to face trial under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and 35, 39 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), which deals with receiving funds in violation of law.

This bail follows the Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s earlier decision to quash his detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA), citing a lack of substantial evidence linking him to a threat to public order.

Shah was arrested in February 2022 over a report carried on his portal about an encounter in Pulwama. The police accused him of “uploading anti-national content, including photographs, videos and posts with criminal intention to create fear among public”.

Despite securing bail in three cases, Shah was booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) which allows the authorities to detain a person for a period upto two years.

Shah’s arrest was widely condemned by the journalists’ bodies in and outside the country.