Posters offering rewards for information of Kashmiri journalist Gowhar Geelani have come up in several towns in Jammu and Kashmir after a warrant was issued by the court against the ‘missing’ journalist. A group named Civil Society Volunteers Group of Kashmir has put up the posters at various cities in the UT, including Srinagar, Baramulla, Pulwama and Shopian. The posters have been printed in both English and Urdu.
The English poster reads, “Absconding “alleged journalist” and essentially a stenographer of terrorism and vehicles of insurgency, Gowhar Geelali. Anyone giving information on his whereabouts would be rewarded with ₹50 thousand. Identity of the informant would be kept discreet”. The posters also gave an email ID to which any information on Geelani can be sent.
Kashmiri Civil Society puts posters of alleged journalist Gowhar Geelani across Srinagar, Baramulla, Pulwama and Shopian who is absconding after arrest orders from a Shopian Court. Indicates how Kashmiris are tired of Pakistani terrorists and propagandists. Via @HamidMirPAK pic.twitter.com/UykkChlmGr— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) February 19, 2022
“Wanted” posters surface in Pulwama #Kashmir asking for information about the whereabouts of ‘fugitive journalist’ Gowhar Geelani. A local court recently issued an arrest warrant against Gowhar Geelani and directed the police to produce him before it on February 19 pic.twitter.com/8VyHwTIbXK— Rajesh Raina راجیش رینہ (@rainarajesh) February 19, 2022
The posters include a photograph of Geelani and a copy of the arrest warrant issued by the court.
The posters came up after Shopian court had issued a warrant against him, as he had failed to appear before the court after the court had sent a notice to him. The court of Executive Magistrate First Class Shopian issued an arrest order on 12 February for Gowhar due to his non-appearance in court.
Addressing the order to the Station House Officer Heerpora, the court said “In view of non-appearance of Gowhar Nazir Geelani after serving notice on him under Section 107/151 CRPF, dated February 03, 2022, you are directed to arrest and produce the person before this court on Feb 19, 2022, in order to maintain peace and public tranquillity in the jurisdiction of this court.”
The court had issued a summons to Gowhar, requiring him to appear in court on February 7 for disseminating information on social media regarding a terrorist attack on a police officer on February 1. Geelani has been absconding since then.
A case was filed against Gowhar Geelani regarding his tweets on February 1 on a terror attack when Assistant Sub-Inspector Shabir Ahmad Wagay was shot at by terrorists in Amshipora. According to the court summon issued to him, he posted such information on social media immediately after the attack that would have “endangered the life of the injured individual and other persons”.
“Besides circulation of your information have raised serious security and breach of peace concerns”, the summon had further added. It had said, “you have acted in a manner prejudicial to the public interest that have tendency to disturb public peace, tranquillity and security and I have strong apprehensions you will continue with such activities that will have an impact upon maintainable of peace and public tranquillity in my jurisdiction.”
Shabir Ahmad Wagay was hospitalised and survived the attack.
Who is Gowhar Geelani?
Gowhar Geelani is a freelance journalist who has written for the BBC, DailyO, and Scroll.in, and a few others. He also spent several years in Germany working for Deutsche Welle. He’s also written for Dawn, the Pakistani media house.
Geelani has been accused of spreading hatred and supporting terrorists several times. His Twitter posts reveal his views on Kashmir and Pakistan. In a tweet made on 20 August 2016, he said “The only guns in Kashmir are of India’s military occupation. Yes, we are proud Kashmiri Muslims. Just as you’re a Hindu.”
Another tweet made on 21 September 2016 reads, “Pakistan PM says brutalities and occupation can’t deter people of Kashmir from demanding their freedom from brutal Indian occupation #UNGA”
On 02 March 2015, he tweeted, “Pro-India politicians in Kashmir are ‘stooges of occupation’, say resistance groups”
Geelani was also booked in 2020 for “glorifying terrorism in Kashmir Valley” through social media posts. Several others have also been arrested by the Jammu & Kashmir Police for promoting views on terrorism recently. On February 5, Fahad Shah, editor of Srinagar-based news portal The Kashmir Walla was detained by the Jammu and Kashmir Police for anti-national actions and distributing incendiary information on the social media network Facebook.