A Supreme Court lawyer, Alakh Alok Srivastava, has named activist Shehla Rashid, leader of Jammu and Kashmir People's Movement, in a criminal complaint over allegedly spreading fake news against the Indian Army in Kashmir.
In a series of tweets, Shehla had written on Sunday about how the local press is restricted in Srinagar, and how there is little connectivity. She said that according to residents, Jammu and Kashmir police have no authority on law and order there with the control being taken over by paramilitary forces. â€śArmed forces are entering houses at night, picking up boys, ransacking houses, deliberately spilling rations on the floor, mixing oil with rice, etc.,â€ť she tweeted.
â€śIn Shopian, 4 men were called into the Army camp and "interrogated" (tortured). A mic was kept close to them so that the entire area could hear them scream, and be terrorised. This created an environment of fear in the entire area,â€ť Shehla added, in another tweet.
In his complaint, Alok has accused Shehla of making claims that are false, baseless, and concocted. According to reports, the complainant has said that Shehla wanted to create disaffection towards the Indian government, which is prima facie sedition, as per section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code.
Referring to Shehlaâ€™s tweet about the interrogation and torture by the Indian Army at Shopian, Alok said in an interview to Times Now, â€śI would like to ask her, if that was so, why wasnâ€™t there a voice recording produced? There was no restriction on mobile recording or voice recording.â€ť He added that she had not given details such as the name of the person, the place and date of the incident as well. â€śWithout any specific information, she has made these statements with the sole intention of inciting violence in India, in Jammu and Kashmir particularly, and to malign the image of India in the international community,â€ť he added.
â€śShe is trying to invite other countries to force India to deal with this internal issue to Article 370,â€ť he further accused.
Apart from sedition, Alok also alleged that Shehlaâ€™s statements were in violation of the Information Technology Act. He said that he had asked Delhi Police to immediately take stringent action against her and arrest her. â€śDelhi police has taken this very seriously and assured stringent action,â€ť Alok said.
Shehla Rashid (@Shehla_Rashid) is trying to wage war against India. With her remarks, she is maligning Indiaâ€™s image, & inciting violence. Her acts fall under Sedition: Alok Srivastava, Complainant, at media briefing. | #ForcesNailTukdeGang pic.twitter.com/U9GcJSt5Edâ€” TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) August 19, 2019
Earlier, the Army had also responded to Shehlaâ€™s allegations, and dismissed them as â€śbaselessâ€ť. â€śAllegations levelled by Shehla Rashid are baseless and rejected. Such unverified and fake news are spread by inimical elements and organisations to incite unsuspecting population," the Army said, in a statement.
Following the controversy, the hashtag #ArrestShehlaRashid also started trending on Twitter on Monday afternoon.