Senior journalist Ghulam Jeelani Qadri was released on bail by a local court here.
Qadri, editor of a daily newspaper– Afaaq, Qadri was arrested during a mid-night raid in a case registered in 1990.
Police said that he was arrested as court had issued a warrant against him under CrPC’s section 512 (proclaimed offender).
Qadri was released on bail by the Chief Judicial Magistrate on furnishing person bond in the amount of Rs 20000.
Meanwhile, KEG condemns Qadri’s arrest and terming as shocking the raid on his residence in which he was arrested Monday night. Qadri, 62, a known hypertensive, has spent more than 35 years in public life, KEG said.
The KEG said that the police invoked a 1990 case registered against eight journalists and editors. Of the eight “accused’, two veterans are no more – Sofi Ghulam Mohammad of ‘Srinagar Times’ and Ghulam Mohammad Aarif of ‘Daily Hamdard’.”
“It is still not known why Qadri was singled out for allegedly defying the due process of law in a case he is not aware about. Qadri said he does not know how and why he was declared a proclaimed offender. The case is curious because the same police station verified and attested the antecedents of the editor for issuance of the passport twice in last 30 years,” reads a statement issued here by the KEG.
“In the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, the police failed to offer even an iota about what the case is all about. After bailing out the editor, the court directed the police to explain how it investigated the case in last three decades before they finally swooped on the residence of Qadri and arrested him in the dead of the night.”
KEG also regretted the way a senior editor was declared proclaimed offender in books and finally arresting him during the dead of the night. Qadri, like every member of the media in Kashmir, is a law abiding citizen and could have personally appeared before the police station or the court had he been informed, the KEG said. He has been a newspaper editor for last more than two decades, has contributed to the institution of media and has been in public life for three decades. “How can a person be a proclaimed offender if he is available in his office in the heart of Srinagar for more than 15 hours daily?”
KEG regretted that the arrest of Qadri has led to the delay in the electoral process of the Aiwan-e-Sahafat because most of the journalists were busy shuttling between courtrooms and the police station for the whole day.
KEG acknowledges the judicial intervention that led to Qadri’s release. Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Srinagar actually showed the judiciary’s concern in the case insisting that the liberty of the media is not barred or trampled upon, the KEG added.