Fahad Shah

Fahad Shah, CEO and editor-in-chief of The Kashmir Walla, was arrested in February 2022 on terrorism charges and was eventually charged under the Public Safety Act.


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu nationalist party led by current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been strategically targeting Indian journalists, specifically those critical of the Indian government, since it took power in 2014. According to The Wire, at least 194 journalists were targeted across the country and by state agencies, non-state political actors, and armed opposition groups in 2022. Jammu and Kashmir are specifically ostracized and experienced the largest number of targeted journalists (48).

Activists and human rights advocates have expressed grave concerns over the immense crackdown on free speech in India, according to Wired. According to AlJazeera, The Indian state has been silencing Kashmiri voices for decades and blocked the website of The Kashmir Walla, an independent news outlet based in Srinagar, from its country’s readers in August 2023.

Life and Activism

Fahad Shah is a Kashmiri journalist and CEO and editor-in-chief of the now inoperative Kashmir Walla. According to The Wire, Shah was detained on charges of terrorism for publishing the article titled “The Shackles of Slavery Will Break” in The Kashmir Walla in 2011. The opinion article was written by Aala Fazili who was also arrested in the case.

Shah was first charged in May 2020 over reporting on a fun battle between security forces and militants in Srinagar. Residents had alleged that security forces had taken away their belongings, which security forces have denied and rejected. Shah was booked under Sections 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) and 505 (statements conducive to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code on January 30, 2021 for a report in The Kashmir Walla, which claimed that the Army was “pressuring” the administration of a private school in Shopian to organize and prepare Republic Day celebrations. The Army rejected this charge and then filed a criminal case against Fahad, who later was granted bail by the court. Shah has allegedly faced six cases of intimidation between June 2017 and January 2021.

Charges and Allegations

Shah was first arrested on February 4, 2022 for sharing “anti-national” content on social media. He was booked under the Public Safety Act in March 2022, according to Newslaundry. Shah was charged under Sections 18 of UAPA and Sections 121 and 53-B of the Indian Penal Code. Shah was also charged under Section 13 of the UAPA for allegedly abetting unlawful activities and Sections 35 and 39 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, according to The Indian Express.

Current Status

Granted bail

Last Update

Shah was released on November 17, 2023 after spending nearly 2 years in jail, according to The Wire. The Jammu and Kashmir High Court reversed the charges under Sections 18 (terror conspiracy) and 121 (waging war against the country) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and 153-B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) of the Indian Penal Code against Shah. Shah will still face trial under Section 13 (abetting unlawful activities) of the UAPA and Sections 35 (receiving foreign funds illegally) and 39 (offenses by companies) under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.

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