A court in Delhi on Friday instructed the police to serve a 10-day pre-arrest notice to activist Shehla Rashid if it needed to arrest her under sedition charges over her tweets on Jammu and Kashmir since the Centre stripped the region of its constitutional status, Bar and Bench reported. The court issued the direction as it dismissed an anticipatory bail plea by Rashid.
On August 18, the activist had tweeted that Indian Army personnel had tortured four men in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, placing a microphone next to them “so that the entire area could hear them scream, and be terrorised”. The allegation was made as part of a Twitter thread in which Rashid recounted what she had heard from people who had travelled out of Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir was placed in a lockdown on August 5 as the Centre revoked the state’s special constitutional status and split it into two Union Territories. The restrictions have been lifted gradually, but internet services remain suspended in several areas.
The Delhi Police had filed a first information report against Rashid early in September and charged her with sedition for allegedly tweeting false information about the Army. The complaint was filed by Supreme Court lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava in August. The FIR mentioned sections 124-A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity), 505 (public mischief), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), and 153 (provocation to cause riot), according to Live Law.
The court had earlier granted her interim protection from arrest till November 5. “Keeping in view the nature of allegations and also considering the submissions of IO [investigating officer] that the investigation is at a preliminary stage, anticipatory bail application is disposed of with directions to the IO that if need arises for the arrest of the applicant/accused, she be issued a ten days pre-arrest notice,” the order read.
Rashid’s lawyer said she was willing to join the investigation and would cooperate with the police, NDTV reported.