Srinagar, August 09 : A 26-year-old Kashmiri youth, identified as Mohammad Kazafi from Kupwara, was arrested by the Panchkula police in India’s Haryana state for uploading a video of a Pakistani leader’s speech about Kashmir on his WhatsApp status.
Mohammad Kazafi was booked under non-bailable Section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code which 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.”
The FIR filed by one, Sukhdeep Singh, has alleged that a WhatsApp status shared by the accused showed “a Pakistani leader giving a speech in which he talks of Kashmir’s freedom, praises martyred Kashmiri youth leader Burhan Wani and insults the Indian Army…This may lead to a situation of conflict in society and is arising the feeling of enmity which is adversely affecting the integrity of the country”.
“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,” said Inspector Deepak Kumar, SHO of Chandimandir police station. “We produced him in court today from where he was sent to judicial custody.”
Ankit Grewal, a lawyer at the Punjab and Haryana High Court, said, “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.”