Fahad Shah, editor of The Kashmir Walla, has been nominated by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) for the ‘prize for courage’. The organisation of journalists, which is funded by the US Government, has decided to nominate the Kashmiri journalist for continuing his journalism despite ‘persecution’ by the Indian State.
The nomination citation reads, “Editor of the main investigative website The Kashmir Walla, Fahad Shah is regularly summoned for questioning by the police about his reports in order to intimidate and threaten him, but also to try to force him to reveal his sources, which he refuses to do under any circumstances. He has also been the target of physical assaults.”
“The outlet that he runs has played an important part in defending press freedom, using innovative methods to keep 8 million Kashmiris informed despite the fact that they have been cut off from the outside world since the territory’s autonomy was rescinded in August 2019,” it adds. However, as it turns out, the Kashmiri journalist has been accused of sexual assault by numerous women.
Rama Dwivedi, a contributor to The Outlook and The Hindu, claimed in 2018 that Fahad Shah “who was also my former partner, last year molested both me and my friend at a gathering.” “He touched me inappropriately several times at that party. When I told him that his action was not apt and that what we had was in the past, Shah very conveniently said “C’mon, we have been there. You cannot say that you don’t like it.”,” she added.
Rama Dwivedi went on to add, “At this moment he was pushed back. But instead of stopping here, he then went to another room and made a pass at my friend Akanksha Narain sitting there. He even locked himself with her in a washroom. This guy got away the next day by saying “I was drunk”.
His friends who were there in the same house, including a Kashmiri photojournalist Shahid Tantray, said not a single word to stop him. He tried to normalise the entire incident.”
She continued, “He also came to my home next day with an intent to pacify the entire situation, saying “Chalo ho gaya, forget that”. He told my friend not to file an FIR in this case and convince Rama not to do the same, because if this comes out “it will bring shame” to them.” “While the offender walks scot-free, my life was made hell in months following the incident. We were also called morally-corrupt, character-less, politically sold Delhi girls who intentionally tried to shame him for being a “liberal” Kashmiri journalist,” she stated.
Her allegations were carried by numerous mainstream media news outlets such as the Times of India, Asia Times and even Scroll. No action has apparently been taken against him yet. As per ToI, at least 3 women have accused him of sexual impropriety, however, he has denied the allegtions against him.