Nearly twenty Kashmiri columnists, including a retired High Court judge, three academicians and a photographer have been designated as “secessionist writers” in a list compiled by the Jammu and Kashmir state police’s intelligence wing.
The intelligence department’s field units have been tasked to gather information about the people named in the list prepared by the Special Branch of the police’s Criminal Investigation Department.
The retired High Court judge Hasnain Masoodi, figures as the first name in the list. According to reports, Masoodi has been regularly writing columns in newspapers since his retirement and his son was a candidate of the National Conference in the Assembly elections 2014. His residence had also come under a militant attack.
Others in the list are three academicians, Syeda Afshana of the University of Kashmir, Ather Zia, an assistant professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of Northern Colorado, US, and Mohammad Junaid, an anthropologist and doctoral candidate based in New York.
A US citizen of the Kashmiri origin, Ghulam Nabi Fai, who in 2011 pleaded guilty to “conspiracy and tax violations in connection with a decades-long scheme to conceal the transfer of at least $3.5 million from the Government of Pakistan to fund his lobbying efforts in America related to Kashmir” is also named in the list.
According to senior CID official, the list had been prepared and said field units had been tasked to collect the “data” related to these individuals, The Tribune reported.
“It is an exercise to create a data bank,” the official said, adding that the mention of the word secessionist is a “clerical mistake”. The list also names research scholar Gowhar Fazili and civil rights’ activist Gautam Navlakha.