HC denies protection of Geelani from arrest under UAPA

Jammu and Kashmir denies protection of Gowhar Geelani from interim arrest from UAPA act

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday sought the government’s stand on a petition by journalist Gowhar Geelani seeking quashing of an FIR registered against him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey sought the government’s stand, issuing notice to it and directing it to file its response to the journalist’s petition before the next date of hearing scheduled for May 20. In his petition, Salih Peerzada, the counsel for Geelani, has questioned the case against his client and the jurisdiction of the Cyber Police Station, while seeking annulment of the FIR, besides interim protection from arrest.

“The respondent has no jurisdiction to investigate the offences beyond the purview of the Information Technology Act, 2000. There is no genesis or manner of the commissions of alleged offences mentioned in the FIR, as such, the initiation of persecution being in abuse of the process of law can't be allowed to sustain,” the petitioner said. “The registration of the impugned FIR emanates from the misuse of police powers, as such liable to be quashed,” he contended in the petition.

The Cyber Police Station Kashmir Zone on Tuesday registered a case alleging that Geelani was indulging in unlawful activities through social media posts. “The Cyber Police Station Kashmir Zone, Srinagar has received information through reliable sources that an individual namely 'Gowher Geelani' is indulging in unlawful activities through his posts and writings on Social Media platform which are prejudicial to the national integrity, sovereignty and security of India," a police spokesman said.

The spokesman said the unlawful activities include "glorifying terrorism in Kashmir Valley, causing disaffection against the country and causing fear or alarm in the minds of the public that may lead to the commission of offences against public tranquillity and the security of the state". Geelani, a freelance journalist, has worked for German broadcaster Deutsche Welle in the past. The spokesman said several complaints have also been received against Geelani for threatening and intimidation.