A 65-YEAR-OLD man from Kishtwar district of Jammu region has been booked on sedition charges in two separate FIRs for allegedly raising anti-India slogans during protests against the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
Four others were also booked in the second FIR along with Saif-ud-Baghwan, 65, for allegedly raising anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans in the presence of Hindu pilgrims.
The FIRs were registered at Kishtwar police station on July 11 and 15 under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 124A (sedition) and 153A (promoting religious enmity) of Ranbir Penal Code (the equivalent of Indian Penal Code in the Valley).
The four others booked are Javed Iqbal Sheikh, Imran Ali, Parvaiz Ahmed Sheikh and Tariq Hussain Gallu. While the 65-year-old is from Baghwan mohalla in Kishtwar town, the others are residents of Sangrambata in the district.
According to the first FIR, during a “peaceful’’ bandh in Kishtwar town called on July 11, Baghwan raised anti-India slogans when Hindu pilgrims on Sarthal Devi yatra arrived at the local bus stand. He did this to provoke the pilgrims and to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere, the FIR says.
The bandh was called by local imams Farooq Ahmed Kichloo and ManzoorAhmed Ganie and local separatist leader Molvi Abdul Qayoom Mattoo to express solidarity with protesters in the Valley.
Four days later, Baghwan, this time accompanied by several others, raised “provocative” slogans at the sight of Sarthal Devi pilgrims, thereby “hurting their sentiments”.
According to a police official, no arrests have been made so far in view of the ongoing unrest in Kashmir. The police apprehend separatists in the Valley may use any arrests to stoke trouble. They are likely to be nabbed later.
The charges were levelled against the five following a nod from Kishtwar Deputy Commissioner Ghulam Nabi Balwan. Kishtwar Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sandeep Wazir said investigations are on.
Meanwhile, a partial bandh was observed in Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban districts following Pakistan’s call to observe Wednesday as “Black Day” over the death of protesters in the Valley during clashes with security forces.