Srinagar, June 15: The arrest of a Kashmiri over his remarks that he has more expectations from local officials rather than those from outside has been condemned by leaders of various political parties.
Fifty-year-old Sajad Rashi Sofi of Safapora in Kashmir’s Ganderbal district was arrested after he told LG advisor Baseer Khan at Mansbal at a ‘Janta Darbar’ on June 10 that he can understand the issues of people of the area better as compared to officers from outside the union territory because he is a local.
Sofi’s remarks did not go down well with Ganderbal Deputy Commissioner Krittika Jyotsna, who is an IAS officer from Uttar Pradesh. According to the police report, she stood up from her seat and ‘strongly objected’ to Sofi’s comments.
Sofi was summoned and booked by the police under Section 153 (promoting enmity between different groups) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the same night.
According to news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS) National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said the arrest of a Kashmiri political activist over his remarks that he has more expectations from local officials rather than those from outside is the result of ‘unbridled’ bureaucratic powers.
“It’s unacceptable that a person should be jailed for expressing a totally harmless opinion. ‘I haven’t come across a worse reason to detain a person & I was detained for encouraging people to vote so that’s saying something. It’s unacceptable that a person should be jailed for expressing a totally harmless opinion. This is what happens when bureaucratic power is unbridled,” he said.
CPI (M) leader M.Y. Tarigami on Tuesday termed the arrest as “unwarranted, uncalled for and brazen violation of the fundamental rights of people”.
“He (Sofi) was a part of a delegation to demand a degree college in Safapora. If such incidents happen during the reach out programme of the L-G administration, it can create a sense of fear. Such an attitude of the officer is highly authoritarian and detrimental. It only damages and dents the credibility of the institution the officer represents,” Tarigami said.
He said the police decision not to release him despite the interim bail “was a brazen misuse of power and authority”.
“I urged upon J&K L-G Shri Manoj Sinha to intervene in the matter personally and ensure that the man is not only released immediately, but action under law is taken against the erring officer for misuse of power and authority,” he said.