Masrat, Geelani charged with sedition

Masrat, Geelani charged with sedition

FIR against the duo, 5 others, also includes ‘waging war against India’ charge

Srinagar: The PDP-led coalition government in the state has charged Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Muslim League leader Masrat Alam and five other members of the resistance group with “sedition” and “waging war against India”, a lawyer said.
A person charged with “waging war against India” can be sentenced to life imprisonment or death and those charged with sedition can be punished with life imprisonment or life plus fine.
These charges have also been slapped on Peer Saifullah, Raja Mehraj-ud-din Kalwal, Javed Ahmad Najar and Zahoor Ahmed Kanna and amalgam’s spokesman Ayaz Akbar.
On last Wednesday, hundreds of youth had waved Pakistani flags and shouted pro-freedom slogans during a rally organised to welcome Geelani on his arrival from New Delhi. Alam and some of the leaders too had shouted slogans but had not waved the Pakistani flag.
Following a vicious campaign launched by Indian news channels, which demanded arrest of Alam and others, coupled with a harsh stance by the government of India, the police had booked these leaders under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 147 (rioting), 341 (causing injury), 336 (attacking govt employee), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50 or more).
However, the news channels, and reportedly PDP’s coalition partner BJP, were demanding arrest of the leaders on more serious charges. Since the ire of the news channels and New Delhi was aimed mostly at Alam, he only was arrested, on Friday.
Shabir Ahmad Bhat, Hurriyat leaders’ counsel, said that he came to know about “sedition and waging war against India charges” when the police mentioned them before the court of Budgam chief judicial magistrate on Tuesday.
He said the case has been listed for hearing tomorrow (Wednesday).
Alam had moved before the court two applications, one seeking permission to allow his family to meet him and the other for bail.
Subsequently, Alam withdrew first application after his family was allowed to meet him.
Meanwhile, Hurriyat spokesman, Ayaz Akber told Kashmir Reader that detentions and suppressive tactics by the government will not deter the pro-freedom conglomerate from taking the ongoing freedom struggle to its logical end.
“We have not and we will not succumb to these pressure tactics,” he said.
He said that the Mufti-led government was taking dictations from rightwing Hindu parties and the cases against the pro-freedom leaders were part of those dictations.
The tirade by the Indian media, which is one of the reasons behind the serious charges against Hurriyat leaders, prompted the resistance group to condemn the role of Kashmiri reporters working for Indian news channels.
The conglomerate warned the reporters that if they do not “mend their criminal ways”, they and their “distorted reportage” will be exposed before the people. The pro-freedom conglomerate accused these news channels of acting as a mouthpiece of intelligence agencies.