‘Elderly woman died after being hit by teargas shell’
Srinagar, December 02: J&K Police booked an assistant professor, a journalist and a lawyer in Kulgam on the charges of being involved in “separatist” activities, “rumour mongering” and “sharing anti-India” posts on social networking sites.
The professor was booked for posting a video about a school shutting down because of an Indian forces’ camp coming up nearby, a journalist for posing in a Whatsapp group news of a woman’s death due to forces’ teargas firing on people and a lawyer for uploading something critical of the Indian authorities on Facebook.
The Assistant Professor, Dr Abdul Bari Naik, a doctorate from Aligarh Muslim University, teaches at Kulgam Degree College. He told media that he was being punished for his social work. “I have been vocal about several social issues,” said Bari.
He said he recently posted a video about the closure of a school in the vicinity of a newly established forces’ camp in Redweni, Kulgam district. “The school had remained closed for over a month because people in the area were protesting against the establishment of the camp. In the video I suggested that either the camp be removed or the school,” Bari added. The district administration Kulgam sent a letter to the Principal of the college seeking a report on Bari for what it said violating the Civil Service Rules (CSR). The principal, in his reply suggested that Bari was an exceptional teacher and very popular among the students and had never been found involved in any activity detrimental to the college discipline. Despite the clean chit from the college authorities, Bari said, he was booked under a flimsy FIR by the police. A senior police officer confirmed that an FIR has been lodged against Bari for “separatist” activities.
Journalist Abdul Hameed, who works for a local news channel, has also been booked by the Kulgam police, after he posted a news item in a Whatsapp group about the death of a local woman as a result of teargas shelling by Indian troops. Hameed said that he posted in the group that police had used teargas shells on the funeral procession of 13-year-old Uzair in the main market of Kulgam, and the woman was injured and later succumbed to her injuries. “It is a group to seek confirmation from police officials. As the police officials had suggested something (a version of events), I also put there a piece of information, which is properly backed by a video byte from the family of the woman. I can’t understand why I should be booked for that,” Hameed told media. A police officer while confirming the FIR against the journalist said that Hameed had been booked for “rumour mongering.”
The same officer also confirmed that a lawyer named Muzammil Butt had been booked for “sharing anti-government posts on Facebook.” However, details of the posts could not be ascertained.