Kashmiri student thrashed in Bengaluru, IPS officer threatens journalist for sharing post on Twitter

A 24-year-old Kashmiri youth was thrashed by a mob near Hindustan Aeronautics Limited headquarters in southeast Bengaluru on March 20. The incident was reported by a journalist, Fawad Shah, on his Twitter handle.

The tweet read: “Absar Zahoor Dhar, 24-yr-old Kashmiri student, has been beaten up in Bengaluru. Dhar, who funds his studies by modelling, says, “They could have killed me. I’m living in fear, not attending college as the assailants roam free in front of my house as if nothing happened.”

A day later, an IPS officer, Abdul Ahad, replied to Fawad Shah on his tweet, and warned him against “discussing a subject of investigation in public domain” and “this illegal behaviour”. The IPS officer also accused the journalist of “instigating people”.

Abdul Ahad’s reply to Fawad Shah read: “Mr Fahad Shah, you are discussing a subject of investigation in public domain which is an offence. Four culprits have been arrested and 107 CrPC proceedings are underway. You are warned against this illegal behaviour.”

Fawad Shah responded to the IPS officer’s tweet and pointed out that his tweet on an assault on a Kashmiri youth was already in the public domain and was neither a discussion nor an opinion.

Fawad Shah said what he tweeted (which was not a discussion or an opinion) was already published in a newspaper. “Perhaps it should be found what’s already in public domain,” he said.

To this, the IPS officer told him that he would be asked to explain by an investigation officer and ensure that he was not “instigating people”.

“You will be asked to explain…you can give your clarification to the investigating officer. As a law-abiding citizen, I am sure you will explain your stand to the satisfaction of the investigating officer and make sure that you were not instigating people. It’s a serious offence,” he said.

Fawad Shah told that, he only shared a fact and his tweet was in no way provocation or instigation.

“The officer is wrong as my tweet in no way is provocative or instigation. It is already in news and I only shared a fact. It seems the officer didn’t like that this incident was getting too much attention on social media and he thinks my tweet added to that – but unfortunate that a senior official, who knows the job of a journalist, threatened me,” he said.

Silence journalists is violation of right to free expression: Amnesty India

Amnesty India slammed the IPS officer for warning a jornalist for his tweet on the Kashmiri youth, saying that threatening arrest or silencing a journalist is a violation of a right to free expression.

“Talking about an assault is not a crime. But police threats to arrest and silence a journalist is a violation of the right to free expression,” Amnesty India tweeted.

The IPS officer’s response to the journalist has drawn criticism on social media. Many public figures pointed out that sharing a piece of news on an assault was not illegal.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi responded to the IPS officer in the same thread of tweets and said, “Remember you are bound by the Constitution of India. Let me refresh your memory, Freedom of Expression is still a Fundamental Right which NO DCP can take it from any Indian.”

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