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‘We know where to find him’ – The relentless harassment of Kashmir’s journalists

The Caravan’s multimedia reporter, Shahid Tantray, has been summoned by Srinagar police following a relentless campaign of police intimidation and threats for his critical coverage of rights in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

In a statement, he detailed how the J&K police force routinely questioned him about his work. During these conversations, the police would threaten to arrest him on fabricated drug charges and would also call in his family.

“I was scared that the police would pick me up and harass my family for the work I was doing,” Tantray wrote in his statement.

The intimidation campaign follows a damning piece he wrote for the Caravan in which he detailed the crackdown on journalists in the region following the abrogation of Article 370.

Read the full piece here: Dead Lines

On 4 February he attended Rangreth Police Post where a sub-inspector noted that it would be very simple to falsely implicate him in one of their open drug cases.

“Every security agent is after you”, the sub-inspector noted.

The officer then laid out three options for him.

  1. To stay in Kashmir and sign a written agreement that he could not write anything against the Government.
  2. To stay in Kashmir and continue writing pieces that displeased the government, in which case, he would be either shot or sent to jail.
  3. Leave Kashmir immediately.

The deputy superintendent had warned him that “this was not Europe, where you can write anything” and that he should not engage in “risky work”. Tantray responded that he would leave Kashmir on Monday, 7 February.

Despite this assurance, the sub-inspector repeatedly asked Tantray to bring in his 55-year-old father to the police statement and provide a written bond stating that he would not write anything critical. Tantray responded stressing that his work has nothing to do with his family and the officer relented.

Upon returning to Delhi, he began drafting his second story on the role of the Indian army in organizing nationalistic protests in Kashmir.

“The Indian Army was trying to establish a new generation of politicians and power-brokers in the valley and project to an international audience that normalcy has returned to the valley after the abrogation of Article 370,” Tantray writes.

Read the full piece here: False Flags

On 4 June, Tantray’s father would receive a call from Rangreth Police Post requesting he meet with the police. Meeting with the deputy superintended on 5 June, the officer asked his father about his whereabouts. His father responded that he was on assignment in Delhi. The officer responded:

“Tell us in half an hour whether he will come to Kashmir or if we should send a search party to Delhi”.

The Caravan’s political editor Hartosh Singh Bal then called the police to inform them that Tantray was in Delhi on assignment. The officer did not give any details, instead stating “we don’t have to tell you … We know where to find him”.

Tantray has yet to receive any information on whether a formal complaint or FIR has been filed against him despite repeated requests for this information.

Read his full statement below.


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