Former Kashmiri bureaucrat Shah Faesal on Tuesday urged the Uttarakhand Police to “focus on real spoilers” instead of activist Shehla Rashid, who was booked for allegedly spreading rumours after the Pulwama terror attack. Human rights organisation Amnesty India called the action against Rashid “absurd”.
Rashid, a Jawaharlal Nehru University research scholar, was booked by Dehradun Police for a tweet she wrote on Saturday, amid reports of Kashmiri students being harassed and assaulted in parts of the country after the February 14 attack.
Rashid had claimed that 15 to 20 Kashmiri women students were trapped in a Dehradun hostel, while an angry mob stood outside their university to demand their expulsion. She had claimed that police were present at the spot, but were “unable to disperse the mob”.
The Uttarakhand Police had tweeted the same day to dispel the “rumours”. Rashid shared the pictures of the FIR against her on Twitter saying, “The price you pay for seeking justice under a BJP government.”
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said that by filing a case against Rashid instead of the Bajrang Dal and its convenor Vikas Verma, the police “have shown they’d rather take sides than deliver justice by upholding the rule of law”.
Vikas Verma, a member of the Bajrang Dal in Dehradun, had claimed on Saturday that Kashmiri students had been celebrating and posting in favour of terrorists. “We have asked landlords to evacuate their Kashmiri tenants and directed college authorities to rusticate Kashmiri students,” Verma had told Scroll.in.
Shah Faesal tweeted: “[The] FIR against Shehla Rashid will make the matters worse. Uttarakhand Police, please focus on real spoilers. There are still too many distress calls coming from Dehradun. An environment of peace and brotherhood can’t be built by shooting the messengers.”
Amnesty India said it was absurd for the police to book Rashid when “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 against the terror attack, 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.