Indian authorities on Thursday released the founder and editor of news portal The Kashmir Walla, Fahad Shah, who was arrested in February 2022 on terrorism charges for allegedly publishing "anti-national content."
His arrest stemmed from the publication of an opinion piece written by a student at the University of Kashmir — who currently remains detained — that allegedly called for the secession of Indian-administered Kashmir.
The Indian authorities’ real motive behind the arrest of Fahad Shah was to question and detain journalists as punishment for criticizing the establishment. Since the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's constitutional autonomy in 2019, India has displayed a venal approach to free speech. Shah’s arrest was only one in a series of punitive efforts by police to target Kashmiri media. Clearly, what happened in Kashmir did not stay in Kashmir and this vindictiveness towards journalists has, by now, spread to other parts of India, too.
India is constantly fighting a multipronged propaganda war, especially in matters related to the restive Jammu and Kashmir region in the Himalayas. Foreign media aside, several homegrown platforms, too, spew anti-India rhetoric regularly to vitiate the domestic atmosphere. The Indian government is acting within its mandate to secure the information space in order to protect national security.