According to the police report, during this time Ganderbal Deputy Commissioner Kritika Jyotsna got up from her chair and raised strong objections to this remark.
Ground Report | New Delhi: A 50-year-old political activist from Jammu and Kashmir’s Ganderbal district has been placed in “preventive custody” for being a threat to peace. It is alleged that this man had told the advisor to the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir that he had no hope from officers who were not local. The man’s remark reportedly angered the deputy commissioner of Ganderbal, who is from the Uttar Pradesh cadre.
Under section 153 of IPC for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, caste, place of birth, residence, language, etc. against Sajjad Rashid Sofi, a resident of Wani Mohalla, Safapora, Ganderbal, for this alleged remark. The case has been registered. Sajjad made the remarks on June 10 during an interaction with Bashir Ahmed Khan, advisor to the Lieutenant Governor at Manasbal in Ganderbal in central Kashmir.
According to the police report filed in the local court in Ganderbal, Sajjad, who was part of the civil society delegation, addressed the advisor Khan saying, “I have high hopes from you because you are a Kashmiri and can understand and I can hold your collar.” I can ask you for answers, but what can I expect from a non-Kashmiri officer?’
According to the police report, during this time Ganderbal Deputy Commissioner Kritika Jyotsna got up from her chair and raised a strong objections to this remark.
The official handout issued by the Information Department of Jammu and Kashmir on June 10 said that on that day, the Advisor after reviewing the functioning of the Manasbal Development Authority conducted several delegations including BDCs, transporters, traders, members of civil society, and religious leaders of Safapora.
Ganderbal Deputy Commissioner Krittika Jyotsna is a 2014 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre. She was sent to Jammu and Kashmir on 8 February 2021 for two years along with her husband Rahul Pandey (IAS). In Jammu and Kashmir Raj Bhavan, Additional Secretary Pandey holds the charge of Director of Information.
Even after getting bail on June 12, the police did not release Sofi
Local village head Meraj Ahmed said that even after getting bail on June 12, the police did not release Sofi. “They kept on fudging… Earlier, he was booked under section 153 of the IPC, but later we were told that he was also held under section 107 and 151,” he said. Under sections 107 and 151, preventive custody of a person may be placed on the direction of the Executive Magistrate if there is an apprehension of breach of the peace.
Ganderbal superintendent of police Suhail Munawwar Mir confirmed that Sajjad Ahmed has been booked under section 153 of the IPC. He confirmed that he has been kept in preventive custody since then.
Political leaders react
National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah 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.
In a tweet, Abdullah said, ‘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.’ Sofi was granted bail by a local court here on Saturday.
CPI(M) and Peoples Conference have also criticised Sofi’s arrest and sought Lt Governor Manoj Sinha’s intervention in the matter.
CPI (M) leader Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami termed the incident in which a resident from central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district was jailed for just saying that he had “more expectations from local officers”, as unwarranted, uncalled for and brazen violation of the fundamental rights of people.
Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference (JKPC) has condemned the government action for jailing a Ganderbal local merely for his remarks on non-local bureaucrats. The party has termed such an action as a reflection of the state of affairs in J&K and urged the LG to uphold democracy in J&K.
In a statement issued here, the party spokesman Adnan Ashraf Mir has said that imprisoning people for highlighting the hardships they face in getting their grievances addressed is frivolous and frighteningly undemocratic. He added that such state action is a direct assault on democratic principles and goes on to relay the hopeless and scary picture of the state of affairs.