NIA special court frame charges against 2 for writing 'seditious'

TNN Bureau. Updated: 3/18/2023 2:34:04 AM Front Page

Jammu: In a first, a special NIA court in Jammu has framed charges against two accused -- a journalist and a university scholar -- for writing and publishing a "seditious" article on a news portal.
The case against arrested journalist Peerzada Fahad Shah and Kashmir University scholar Abdul Ala Fazili was probed by the Special Investigation Agency (SIA) which successfully brought it up to the stage of framing charges, an official said.
The official said the Special Judge designed under the NIA Act, Jammu, Ashwani Kumar framed the charges against Shah and Fazili on Thursday.
The case pertains to an information received by the CIJ police station (SIA Jammu) on April 4 last year along with a copy of an article titled 'The Shackles of Slavery Will Break' written by Fazili and published in the digital magazine (portal) 'The Kashmir Walla' through its editor-in-chief cum director Shah, according to the official.
"The duo under an active conspiracy and Pakistan's support had resurrected a platform reviving the narrative in support of the terrorist and separatist eco-system. They had been spreading anti-India narrative by exploiting digital platforms under a concealed and camouflaged setup, with the help of illicit funding received from hostile foreign agencies and proscribed terrorist organisations," he said.
After hearing the rival contentions, the special court found sufficient material collected by the SIA against the accused and framed charges against Fazili and Shah.
Fazili has been charged under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act's (UAPA)
section 13 (unlawful activity) and 18 (conspiracy, advocating, abetting, inciting, facilitating a terrorist act or any preparation to commit a terrorist act) and the Indian Penal Code's sections 121 (abetting waging of war against government of India), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence).
Shah was charged under UAPA's section 13 and 18, and IPC sections 121 and 153-B and Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act's sections 35 (accepting foreign contribution in contravention of provisions of FCRA, or any order or rule therein) and 39 (violation of FCRA by a company tantamount to contravention by the persons incharge or responsible for business of such company), the official said.
The official said the investigation has established that the accused were in touch with secessionists across the border and also with some identified terrorists locally.
"Through their publications they have brazenly advocated terrorism and glorified the terrorists with the sole intention to radicalise the youth of J&K (Jammu and Kashmir) and to entice and incite them in joining secessionist and terrorist organisations," the official said.
The official said the SIA had chargesheeted the case in the court of special judge Jammu on October 13 last year after procuring the requisite government sanction.

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