Jawaharlal Nehru University research scholar and activist Shehla Rashid on Monday was booked by Dehradun Police for allegedly spreading rumours and fear among a minority community in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack that took place on February 14.
On Saturday, amid reports of Kashmiri students being harassed and assaulted in parts of the country, Rashid had tweeted that 15 to 20 Kashmiri women students were trapped in a Dehradun hostel, while an angry mob standing outside their university demanded their expulsion. She had claimed that though police personnel were present at the spot, they were “unable to disperse the mob”.
The Uttarakhand Police had, however, tweeted on Saturday to dispel “rumours” that the Kashmiris were trapped in a hostel.
The Dehradun Police registered an FIR against Rashid under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, disturbing public tranquillity, and intent to provoke breach of peace. Rashid shared the pictures of the FIR against her on Twitter saying, “The price you pay for seeking justice under a BJP government.”
The Dehradun Police said Rashid, a former JNU student union leader, had tried to create panic among people by spreading rumours on Twitter. “In her tweet, Rashid claimed that Kashmiri girls were ‘trapped’ for hours and mobs outside were ‘baying for their blood’ both of which were factually incorrect and aimed at disturbing peace in the area,” Senior Superintendent of Police Nivedita Kukreti told The Times of India.
Superintendent of Police (Dehradun) Shweta Choubey said police had reached the hostel on Saturday and resolved the situation. “Even senior officials met the girls on Sunday to tell them that they are safe,” Choubey said.
Amnesty India said it was absurd that the Uttarakhand Police filed a criminal case against Rashid though it is clear that she was trying to “draw attention to the threats faced by Kashmiri students in Dehradun”.
Since Friday, thousands of people have taken to the streets across India and participated in vigils to express their anger and sadness against the attack on a Central Reserve Police Force convoy in Kashmir’s Pulwama district, which killed 40 security personnel. But in some places across North India, Kashmiris say they have been intimidated and attacked following the terror strike. Hundreds of Kashmiri students have left colleges and institutes to return to their state fearing backlash after the suicide bombing.