SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has granted bail to Fahad Shah, editor of the news portal The Kashmir Walla, on Friday. The court dismissed charges on the 35-year-old, including “abetting terrorism, waging war against the country, and promoting enmity” under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Shah, in jail for 21 months under Public Safety Action (PSA), faced UAPA charges related to reporting and articles by his portal since 2011.
“The court granted Mr Shah bail. We expect his release soon,” a member of his legal team told The Hindu.
The Court dismissed charges under Section 18 (abetting the commission of a terrorist act), Section 121 (waging war), and Section 153-B (promoting enmity between different groups) of the UAPA.
However, Shah will still face trial under Section 13 (incites unlawful activity) of the UAPA and 35, 39 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) for receiving funds in violation of the law.
The bail comes seven months after the J&K High Court overturned Shah’s PSA detention, stating, “the apprehension of an adverse impact on public order is a mere surmise of the detaining authority.”
Arrested in February 2022 over a report on an encounter in Pulwama, Shah was accused of “uploading anti-national content with criminal intent to create fear.” He secured bail in three cases, but PSA allows preventive detention for up to two years. Journalists’ bodies globally condemned Shah’s arrest.
(Note: Owing to a miscommunication, it was erroneously reported that the scribe was released. We regret the mistake)