Yasir Alfaz, whose act of sacrilege at a temple in Roopnagar led to large scale violence and arson by angry protestors, was remanded to police custody for six days by the Duty Magistrate, Jammu, Parveen Pandoh, who held that police’s plea for his custodial interrogation was well founded.
After Yasir was produced before him by police, the magistrate went through the case diary (CD) file and observed that investigations are at initial stage. “The grounds enumerated in the application seeking police remand are well founded,’’ he observed while remanding him to police custody up to June 22.
The court also informed the accused about his legal right to consult and be defended by a lawyer of his own choice and in case he has no means to engage one would be provided to him at government expense. The magistrate further directed the investigating officer to expedite investigation and get the accused medically examined under rules.
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Meanwhile, mobile internet services which were suspended following violence in reaction to sacrilege act on Tuesday were restored on Saturday following improvement in situation.
Yasir, a resident of Shiva village in Doda district, according to his family members, is of unsound mind and he has been under treatment since 2008. As he had become violent at home for the last nearly a fornight, his younger brother Tanveer brought him to a private clinic of Dr Jagdish Thappa at Roopnagar as he had treated him eight years ago.
Dr Thappa, who retired as Head of Psychiatry Department some three years ago, has been re-employed by the state government as a professor on contract basis in the Government Medical College, Jammu. He denied having examined Yasir on Tuesday, saying that he came to his clinic at 5.30 pm while he had committed the sacrilege act an hour earlier. “However, if I had earlier treated him, the family must be having my prescriptions etc. For me, it is difficult to recollect him as large number of patients visit me daily,’’ he pointed out.
The doctor’s clinic is nearby the temple where Yasir first broke the flower decorations at the entrance and kicked the Shiva idol. The CCTV footage of his act went viral on social networking sites leading to violence and arson in which protestors torched a number of vehicles including two police public school buses.
Nearly a dozen people were injured and over two dozen apprehended as police resorted to cane charge and lobbed teargas shells to disperse angry protestors who did not got satisfied even after police registered a case against Yasir and suspended a head constable Rehmatullah who had brought the accused to the police station. The mobile internet services were suspended to check trouble from spreading to other areas.
Next day, while all the protestors were let off unconditionally by police on orders from the state government, Yasir remained in police lock up with Health and Medical Education Minister Bali Bhagat constituting a board of doctors to examine him so as to ascertain whether he was really of unsound mind.
However, less than 48 hours thereafter, another act of sacrilege under similar circumstances involving a suspended police constable led to tension in Nanak Nagar area. However, this time, the situation got saved by members of the Sikh community who came forward and made the administration detain accused under Public Safety Act. The Sikh leaders appealed the community to ostracize the accused for bringing bad name to the community.
The administration described both these incidents as “intelligent terrorist attack’’ and linked these to cross border terrorism.