Srinagar: A Kashmiri youth was arrested in Haryana state of India, for sharing a WhatsApp status of a Pakistani leader on Saturday.
A resident of Dildaar village of Karnah Tehsil close to the Line of Control, a youth, identified as Mohammad Kazafi, was booked under non-bailable Section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code, a report by a Delhi based newspaper The Indian Express said.
The law states that “whoever promotes or attempts to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both”.
According to the report, the case in this regard was filed by Sukhdeep Singh, 28, a resident of Nada village at Chandimandir, Panchkula.
In the FIR, the officer, according to the report, alleged that a WhatsApp status shared by the accused showed a Pakistani leader giving a speech about Kashmir’s independence and praising Burhan Wani, the militant commander whose killing in 2016 triggered mass protests in Kashmir.
“We had received a complaint last night and arrested the accused within hours. The complainant has a tea stall outside Nada Sahib gurdwara where the accused used to visit. Both had become friends over time,” the report quoted Inspector Deepak Kumar, SHO of Chandimandir police station as having said.
“We produced him in court today from where he was sent to judicial custody,” the police officer added.
However, a lawyer Ankit Grewal, at the Punjab and Haryana High Court, was also quoted by the report saying: “the FIR will not stand in court. The FIR and arrest were only valid if his sharing of the video had led to some form of outage amid masses or created hatred in any form or caused violence. It is a colonial law being misused increasingly and selectively only to suppress dissent and the freedom of speech and expression in this country.”
Grewal while commenting on a rise in such cases, said: “It is apparent that such cases are increasing every day. It was shocking when an FIR had been filed only last year against some Kashmiri students at Baddi. They are mindlessly registering such FIRs. They are especially being registered against minorities of the country and its activists. It has become a trend.”
Kazafi’s father Bashir Ahmad Mir, a farmer, who spoke to Clarion India, said that he got a call from a station house officer of Haryana police who asked him to come to Haryana and get his son bailed out.
“Due to coronavirus lockdown it is difficult for me to travel to Haryana and get my son released,” the report quoted Mir as saying.
Appealing authorities, Mir has said that his son is young and committed the mistake unknowing of the consequences.
Pertinently, one of the Kazafi’s brothers is an armed forces personnel affiliated with the Indian Army.
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