If A Man Says He Has More Expectations From Local Officers, Does It Warrant Detention, Yousuf Traigami Asks

SRINAGAR: Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami has termed the incident in which a Ganderbal resident was jailed for saying that he had “more expectations from local officers”, as unwarranted, uncalled for and brazen violation of fundamental rights.

Tarigami is a Communist leader, four-time lawmaker and the spokesman of PAGD.

“Fifty-year-old Sajad Rashid Sofi of Safapora in Ganderbal has been reportedly booked for his comment made during an interaction of locals with the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor’s advisor, Baseer Ahmad Khan on the directions of Ganderbal Deputy Commissioner, an IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre,” a statement issued by Tarigami said.

“He (Sofi) was part of a delegation, which had gone to meet LG’s Advisor to demand a degree college in Safapora.”

Tarigami said that if such incidents happen during the reach out programme of the LG administration, it can create a sense of fear among the people instead of solving their grievances. “Such an attitude of the officer is highly authoritarian and detrimental to the larger interests of not only people but to the administration itself. It damages and dents the credibility of the institution the officer represents,” Tarigami said.

The statement further adds: “Police did not release him even when the court granted him interim bail as he has been reportedly booked additionally under sections 107 and 151 of the IPC. This is a brazen misuse of power and authority besides amounting to a violation of fundamental rights of a citizen.”

Tarigami urged LG Sinha to intervene in the matter personally and ensure that the man is not only released immediately but action under law is taken against the erring officer for misuse of power and authority.

The newsbreak came late last night when The Wire reported that Sofi has been booked under Section 153 of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.) for his remarks. Sajad had made the comment during interaction of locals with Khan, at Mansbal on June 10. The report quoted the police records mentioning Sofi saying: “I have expectations of you because you are a Kashmiri and can understand. And I can catch hold of your collar and can seek answers from you but what expectations can I have from non-state officers?” DC Ganderbal had taken strong exception to the comments there and then.

Meanwhile, National Conference decried the registration of FIR against Sajad Rashid Sofi of Safapora for his comments made during the interaction of civil society delegation with the Advisor to Lt Governor a few days back.

In a statement party leader and MP, Anantnag Hasnain Masoodi disapproved of the registration of successive cases against Sajad Rashid. “Depriving him of his personal liberty on the basis of an innocuous comment that was in the least offensive much less aimed to promote enmity, has reminded the authorities that right to freedom of speech and expression is the most valued and cherished fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution and no amount of official arrogance or bruised egos can justify its violation,” he said.

The statement reminds the authorities at whose instance the case has been registered resulting in arrest and detention of Sajad Rashid, of law laid down by the highest Court that “People in power and authority should not easily lose equanimity, composure. Arrogance and vanity have no place in discharge of their official functions and duties.” It exhorts the authorities involved in the patently unconstitutional act to recall the words of Gandhi ji that “Affection cannot be manufactured or regulated by law. If one has no affection for a person or system, one should be free to give the fullest expression to his disaffection, as long as he does not contemplate, promote or incite violence”.

In the case, there was no attempt to incite violence and the officer taking exception of the comment should have instead of directing registration of a criminal case against the local respectable leading to his arrest and detention, should have addressed his concerns.

Masoodi has demanded action against all those responsible for harassment and detention of respectable civil society member whose participation in interaction should have won him appreciation and not arrest, detention and harassment.

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