Delhi Court has granted an interim protection from arrest to Jammu and Kashmir People’s movement leader Shehla Rashid in a sedition case filed against her for tweeting that the Indian Army allegedly picked up young boys and tortured them and also ransacked locals’s houses since Article 370 was revoked.
Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Kumar Jain at the Patiala House Court while granting interim bail to Rashid, said, “Considering all the facts, I am of the view that matter requires investigation in detail till then accused shall not be arrested, however, she shall join the investigation as and when called by the Investigating Officer (IO).”
The court has posted the matter for hearing on November 5. During the course of hearing, Additional Public Prosecutor submitted that the police had not even issued a notice to Shehla Rashid yet. Rashid’s counsel, senior advocate Satish Tamta, told the court that she is ready to join the investigation and would cooperate with the police.
The public prosecutor also submitted that the police has not received any complaint from the Indian Army. He further added that the police needs a substantial time of at least six weeks to probe the matter.
Rashid was booked on Friday for sedition over her comments about alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, police said. The Delhi Police’s Special Cell said that the FIR was registered on September 3 and Rashid, who is also a JNU PhD scholar, was booked for sedition on a criminal complaint by Supreme Court lawyer Alok Srivastav who had sought her arrest.
“An FIR has been registered against her under sections 124-A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity), 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly tweeting false information about Army raids in the Kashmir Valley based on a complaint filed by Supreme Court lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava,” a senior police officer said.
In a series of tweets, Rashid had claimed that the Indian Army was indiscriminately picking up men, raiding houses and torturing people in the valley.
10) In Shopian, 4 men were called into the Army camp and “interrogated” (tortured). A mic was kept close to them so that the entire area could hear them scream, and be terrorised. This created an environment of fear in the entire area.
— Shehla Rashid شہلا رشید (@Shehla_Rashid) August 18, 2019
She claimed that human rights abuses were being carried out in Kashmir since Centre abrogated Article 370. The allegations had drawn sharp reactions. Rashid, however, had said that she was ready to give the evidence when the Indian Army constitutes an inquiry.
The Indian Army has officially rejected Rashid’s claims and called them “baseless” and “unverified.” Rashid however, stands by her claims and believes in presenting narratives of Kashmiri people whom she represents.