SRINAGAR, June 15, 2021: A Kashmiri man has been put behind bars for allegedly “promoting enmity” by publicly saying that he “expects only local authorities” and not people from outside the state. The 55-year-old had expressed his opinion during a public hearing organized by Jammu and Kashmir’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha in Ganderbal last week.
Safapora, Ganderbal’s Sajjad Rashid Sofi is in preventive custody even after being granted interim bail, two days after his arrest on June 10.
The public hearing Darbar was organized by the Lt Governor on June 10 to meet the common people who want his intervention on difficult issues. The event was attended by Mr. Sophie, along with six others, as part of the civil society delegation.
During the proceedings, he reportedly addressed Farooq Khan, advisor to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
“I can expect you because you are a Kashmiri and you can understand us. I can hold you by the collar and demand answers. But what do I expect from outside officials?” Mr. Sophie told Mr. Khan.
This apparently angered Ganderbal Deputy Commissioner Kritika Jyotsna, who was present at the meeting. A police report stated that she “raised from her seat and strongly objected”. Ms. Jyotsna is a 2014 batch Indian Administrative Service officer from Uttar Pradesh, presently on inter-cadre deputation to Jammu and Kashmir.
Sophie was arrested and remanded at Safapora Police Station. He was charged under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code relating to “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, caste, place of birth, residence, language etc”. and “acting prejudicial to the maintenance of goodwill“. (PTK)