An advocate has filed a complaint against Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and veteran Congress leader Saifuddin Soz for allegedly making seditious comments against the Indian Army, PTI reported on Friday. Advocate Shashi Bhushan filed the complaint with Delhi’s Patiala House Court.
During an interview with News18 on June 22, Azad had said, “The current government actions have killed 20 civilians for every four terrorists in Kashmir.”
Soz also courted controversy on the same day when he said Kashmiris would prefer independence if given a chance to “exercise their free will”. In his recently released book, Soz argued that former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s assessment a decade ago seems to be “correct even today”. “Musharraf said Kashmiris don’t want to merge with Pakistan, their first choice is independence,” Soz had told ANI.
The complainant accused Azad, who is a former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, of spreading hatred and trying to malign the country’s image. It demanded that a case be filed against Azad for sedition, criminal conspiracy and spreading rumours about the armed forces that may cause mutiny.
Bhushan described Azad’s comments as statements that made the Army seem like killers of innocents which was “nothing less than waging war against the country”, Firstpost reported.
The Congress backed Azad but distanced itself from Soz’s comments. “This is an attempt to sell his [Soz] book,” the party’s communications chief Randeep Singh Surjewala had said last week. “Congress’ [Jammu and Kashmir] unit will take appropriate action against him [Soz].”
Referring to Azad’s comments, Surjewala had said: “Our armed forces are capable enough to deal with any situation. Ghulam Nabi Azad also repeated this. Restricting civilian casualties to a minimum during military operations is a concern for every citizen. What’s wrong with it?”
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had demanded that Congress President Rahul Gandhi take action against Soz. Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah dared the Congress to take action against Azad and Soz and demanded an apology, the Hindustan Times reported.