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J&K journalist booked for WhatsApp status over 2006 tragedy

The journalist, Sajid Raina, who works for a Srinagar-based news agency, said he had deleted the WhatsApp status, barely an hour after posting it, after the police called him.

J&K journalist booked for Whatsapp status over 2006 tragedyJ&K Police has registered an FIR against a 23-year-old journalist from Bandipora town in the Valley for putting up a picture of 22 children, who were killed 15 years ago in a boat tragedy, as his WhatsApp status.

Jammu and Kashmir Police has registered an FIR against a 23-year-old journalist from Bandipora town in the Valley for putting up a picture of 22 children, who were killed 15 years ago in a boat tragedy, as his WhatsApp status, captioning it “Walur Martyred” (the martyrs of Wular lake).

“FIR No 84/2021 lodged in police station Bandipora against one person namely Sajid Raina for his WhatsApp status on 30-05-2021 which attracts investigation into the contents and intention behind it,” Bandipora police tweeted on Friday.

In a subsequent tweet, the police posted, “It was not against anyone’s profession particularly journalists, as is being circulated on social media. Investigations are underway.”

The journalist, Sajid Raina, who works for a Srinagar-based news agency, said he had deleted the WhatsApp status, barely an hour after posting it, after the police called him.

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He told The Sunday Express: “May 30 was the 15th anniversary of the tragedy and I uploaded a WhatsApp status with a picture of the children. In the evening, a senior official from a security agency called me. I said there is nothing inflammatory — I apologised and deleted my (WhatsApp) status. Only 20 people had seen my status by then.”

He said, “I thought the issue was over. But two days later, I learnt that an FIR had been registered against me.”
Raina, it is learnt, has been booked under IPC Sections 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) and 505 (intent to cause fear or alarm to the public, whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or public tranquility).

On May 30, 2006, a group of children from Burning Candle School in Handwara was on a school picnic to a hilltop shrine on the banks of Wular when some of them wanted to go on a boat ride in the lake. The teachers accompanying them asked the Navy’s MARCOS for help. A motorboat of the Navy’s MARCOS that took the children capsized, killing 21 children — all below the age of 10 — and a teacher.

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The tragedy sparked huge protests, with villagers accusing Navy personnel.

Then chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident, which concluded that the sailor of the boat, three Navy officials and the school principal were guilty of negligence.

In memory of the children, the Navy built and dedicated a paediatric wing at the District Hospital in Handwara, which was inaugurated by then Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash.

First published on: 06-06-2021 at 11:49:45 am
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