Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement leader Shehla Rashid has been booked for sedition over her tweets alleging that the armed forces “tortured” civilians and “ransacked” houses in the Valley after Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was revoked, the police said on Friday.
She has also been charged with spreading “fake news” with the intention to “malign the image of Indian Army”, they said.
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 on Friday described the sedition case filed against her as “frivolous”, “politically motivated” and a “pathetic attempt” to silence her.
She tweeted her response to the case registered against her.
Rashid said she learnt from media reports that the Special Cell of the Delhi Police had filed an FIR against her “for speaking out on the clampdown in Kashmir and the denial of basic rights to Kashmiris”.
“The FIR is frivolous, politically motivated and a pathetic attempt to silence me.
“I am a petitioner in the constitutional challenge to the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and our petition in the Supreme Court makes a very strong case for the restoration of the same. In my tweets, I have clearly mentioned that these are based on information received from people in the state,” she said.
“In a situation where reporters were not allowed to report, the media, social media, telephonic and postal communication were gagged, it was important to put out the narratives of the people, so that those living in the other parts of the country got to know what was happening in Jammu and Kashmir,” Rashid added.
“As a political activist, I was just doing my job. In the Twitter thread for which I am being targeted, I have highlighted the positive work of the administration in ensuring facilities to the people.
“That itself is proof enough that I have no motive except to shine light on the truth, which is corroborated by several media reports published in India and elsewhere. I appeal to everyone to stand in solidarity with the people of Kashmir in the fight for restoration of their rights,” she wrote on Twitter.
Left activists expressed solidarity with Rashid.
“Media reports have amply borne out @Shehla_Rashid tweets on torture in Kashmir. Booking her for “sedition” tells the world that telling the truth in Modi ruled India is branded “seditious”. Solidarity, Shehla!” Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) politburo member Kavita Krishnan said in a tweet.