A complaint has been filed in the district court of Varanasi seeking penal action against journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik for his comments on Kashmir in an interview to Pakistani media, in which he said that Kashmir should be made an independent country. While the court has fixed July 25 as the next date of hearing in the matter, Vaidik has not been served any notice so far.
The complainant, one advocate Kamlesh Chandra Tripathi, spoke to this correspondent over the phone. “I have argued that Vaidik’s comments during an interview with journalist Iftikhar Shirazi in Pakistan raises several issues of impropriety and amounts to sedition. India has always reiterated that Kashmir is an inseparable part of the country. Such comments will only internationalise the dispute, besides affecting morale of the Army and giving an incentive to the terrorists,” he said, and added that Vaidik’s three other comments (during the same interview) similarly amount to sedition.
According to the advocate, the Indian journalist, who is also facing heat for meeting Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, also suggested “giving Kashmir to Pakistan on a platter; creating Kashmir an independent entity within a bigger conglomeration of SAARC countries; and disputes continuing over line of control being a result of vested interests of traders, politicians and Army”.
Tripathi has sought action against Vaidik under Section 124-A of the IPC (sedition). When asked if he has also raised objections on Vaidik’s meeting with Saeed, Tripathi said: “My complaint says that the meeting had affected the prestige of the country because he (Hafiz Saeed) is one of the most wanted terrorists for us. But, I have not pressed charges on that count.”
The advocate had similarly taken AAP leader Prashant Bhushan to court over his comment regarding the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act by asking the people of Kashmir.