Irfan Mehraj

Kashmiri journalist Irfan Mehraj was arrested under “terrorism” charges in March 2023.


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.

Life and Activism

Irfan Mehraj was arrested by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) under “terrorism” charges, according to AlJazeera. The NIA claims that the arrest was a result of Mehraj’s collaboration with the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), an organization led by jailed human rights activist Khurram Parvez. NIA claims that an “investigation revealed that the JKCCS was funding terror activities in the [Kashmir] valley and had also been in propagation of secessionist agenda in the Valley under the garb of protection of human rights.”

Mehraj has previously worked with, Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle, and is the founding editor of Wande Magazine. Journalists, critics of India’s authoritarian government, and advocates for press freedom emphasize that Mehraj’s arrest demonstrates the increasing crackdown on independent journalism in Kashmir. Amnesty International has called upon Indian authorities to immediately release Kashmiri journalist Irfan Mehraj.

Charges and Allegations

According to The Wire, The case has been filed under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (inciting disaffection towards government through words, signs, etc. of Indian Penal Code and 17 (fundraising for terror activities), 18 (conspiracy to commit terror act), 22A & 22C (relating to offenses committed by registered companies), 38 (offense relating to membership of a terrorist organization), 39 (supporting terrorist organization) and 40 (raising funds for terrorist organization) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Current Status

Still in jail, according to Tribune.

Last Update

Still in jail

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