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'Pathetic Attempt to Silence Me': Shehla Rashid Booked For Sedition Over Kashmir Tweets

Rashid has also been charged with spreading 'fake news' with the intention to 'malign the image of Indian Army'.

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement leader Shehla Rashid has been booked for sedition over her tweets in which she alleged that the Armed Forces tortured civilians and ransacked houses in the Valley after Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was revoked, police said on Friday. Rashid has called the charge “frivolous, politically motivated and a pathetic attempt to silence” her.

The case was registered barely a day after reports emerged of the Delhi government saying that it will not be granting police sanction to prosecute former Jawaharlal Nehru University students – including Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and nine others – who were charged with sedition after an event on campus in February 2016. Like Kumar and Khalid, Rashid was a prominent student leader in the University and was, at that time, the JNU students’ union vice-president.

The state’s home department was quoted by Indian Express as having said that the students should not be prosecuted because their activities “do not amount to sedition against the state”.

Also read: Kashmir Under Siege: One Month of Silence

Rashid has also been charged with spreading “fake news” with the intention to “malign the image of Indian Army”, police told PTI on Friday.

In a series of tweets on August 17, Rashid had alleged that the armed forces entered houses in Kashmir at night and “ransacked” them. She had also alleged that four men were called to an Army camp in Shopian and “interrogated (tortured)”.

Later, Supreme Court lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava had filed a complaint with Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, saying that the allegations levelled by the former JNU student leader were “absolutely false and concocted”.

After the complaint was received, it was handed over to the Delhi Police’s special cell for inquiry, the police said. Rashid has been booked under section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code. The case was registered on September 3, they said.

Rashid had, meanwhile, stood by her comments and said that she could give proof if the Indian Army was to initiate an inquiry into her claims. On Friday, she responded to news of her charge, with a statement on Twitter.

In it, she stressed that it was “important to put out narratives of the people, so that people in the rest of India know what is happening there.”

The news comes on the same day when four Kashmiri students of  Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) were served show-cause notices by university authorities for holding a protest at the campus against the Army’s alleged atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir.

(With PTI inputs)