After questioning youth’s killing, PDP leader arrested for “promoting enmity”

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Srinagar: A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and tribal activist Talib Hussain has been arrested by Jammu and Kashmir police on Tuesday in a case registered against him last month allegedly for instigating people following the death of tribal youth in Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) firing in Anantnag district of south Kashmir.

A police officer privy to the case said that FIR No. 65 of 2021 stands registered against Hussain under section 505 (spreading rumours or fake news), 153 (promoting enmity between different groups) of Indian Penal Code. 

“FIR was registered last month and he was not here, that is why he could not be arrested,” said the officer, wishing not to be named. 

Hussain’s family members told The Kashmir Walla, “we have heard that he has been arrested for speaking in a live video on social media against the killing of tribal youth in CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) firing in Anantnag last month.” 

Tribal youth Parvez Ahmad Khan was killed in CRPF firing on 7 October this year near Mongal bridge in the district allegedly for jumping the checkpoint when “forces signalled the car he was in to stop”. However, the family questioned the government forces’ action and had said, why warning shots were not fired instead of killing him on the spot.

According to the police statement, a checkpoint had been set up at Monghal bridge by the 40 battalion of the CRPF. 

“A Naka was established by 40Bn CRPF at Monghal Bridge .A suspected vehicle without number was signalled to  stop by  the Naka party, however, it rushed towards the Naka party. It was then challenged by the on duty troops. Troops fired upon in self defence in which one person died. But the driver of the vehicle managed to escape from the spot. Identification & credentials of the deceased person is being verified. Investigation is going on,” (sic.) Kashmir Zone Police tweeted.  

A day after killing of Khan, Hussain in a Facebook live trashed the police claim and said, “Allah knows better whether he was asked to stop or not, however they [CRPF] say he was asked to stop as per their statement. In Kashmir we are being asked to stand on the road for hours and we do and how dare one not stop after being signalled by [forces] to stop.”

Hussian, whistleblower of the Kathua rape case further said, “bullets had hit his head as I have heard. No one can jump the naka [checkpoint]…..Now that Parvaiz bhai has been martyred but they [family] were asked immediately to bury the body and most of the relatives could not attend the funeral. SHO [Station House Officer] Larnoo had forcibly made the family bury the body in hurry against family wishes…..and phones of the family were confiscated…” he said in the video.

The Kathua rape case involved the abduction, gang rape, and murder of an 8-year-old girl belonging to the Muslim nomadic bakarwal community, in January 2018 in the Raisana village near Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir. The issue was highly politicised as two ministers from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), both of whom later resigned rallied in support of the accused. The gang rape and murder, as well as the support the accused received, sparked widespread outrage in country and world-wide. Talib Hussain was leading the campaign to seek justice for the victim.

He further asked people to support the family in highlighting the case and said, “forces could have averted the death by firing warning shots or tracked the vehicle at another checkpoint and this is a targeted killing.”

Mohammad Haroon, Hussain’s brother, told The Kashmir Walla that police did not inform them till he was arrested, about the case registered against him. “No one from the police came to inform us about the case,” Haroon said.

Haroon refuted the allegations levelled against his brother and said, “some people have personal grudges against him [Talib Hussain]. Last year in Kokernag the same SHO was there and he registered an FIR against nearly 20 people including him [Talib Hussain].”

“We do not understand why this police station registered case against him when it does not have jurisdiction neither to the area where the incident [killing of tribal youth] took place nor to the village we live in,” said Haroon, who lives in a joint family in Sagam Anderban in Kokernag area of Anantnag. 

Against the family claim, the police officer said that Hussian was arrested on Wednesday as family said he was arrested a day before that.

The family said that police have not been giving them the FIR copy so that they can ensure he is bailed out. However, the officer said, “he [Hussain] was arrested only yesterday and it takes time, as they [family] have approached two different courts seeking the report, they have to cancel one of the applications, else we have to give the report to two courts.”

Hussain’s lawyer, Tariq Ahmad Breng told The Kashmir Walla that they have cancelled one of the applications and police have to give a report of the case by today so that he [Hussain] is bailed out. “In case they do not file the report we will proceed accordingly,” Ahmad said. 

The police have also seized the mobile phone of one of Hussain’s brothers when he tried to capture pictures of Hussain while he was produced before the court on Wednesday by police, as per them. 

Najmu Saqib, a spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, sought his immediate release.

“What crime has PDP Leader @Talib_Hussain_ committed? Is speaking up for tribal community and highlighting atrocities committed to them a crime now. Request @JmuKmrPolice to immediately release him and put an end to campaign of harassment of PDP leaders,” (sic.) Najmu Saqib spokesperson of the party wrote on micro blogging site twitter.

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