A day after police admitted to having arrested 20 persons in Kashmir, including a graffiti designer, for protesting against Israel and supporting Palestine, former J&K chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said that expressing solidarity with Palestine is not a crime.
She also condemned the arrest of two sons of senior separatist leader Ashraf Sehrai who was arrested under PSA last year and had contracted Covid while in jail and died at a Jammu hospital earlier this month.
“People all over the world are protesting against the atrocities committed by Israel on Palestine. But in Kashmir, it’s a punishable offence where an artist is booked under PSA & a preacher is arrested simply for expressing solidarity with Palestinians,” tweeted Mehbooba Mufti.
“PSA is GOI’s go to method for every problem. Latest example being Ashraf Sehrai’s sons who lost their father in custody due to inadequate medical care & have been arrested under PSA. In rest of India dead are being ill treated but in Kashmir its the living who are made to suffer,” she said in another tweet.
Meanwhile, Peoples’ Conference chairman Sajjad Lone, reacting on arrest of Sehrai’s two sons, said the government should bring this “Rambo Culture” to an end.”
A police spokesperson wrote on their official handle that Sehrai’s two sons had been arrested for “raising anti-national slogans during Sehrai’s funeral”, but not booked under PSA.
“J&K Police are keeping a close watch on elements attempting to leverage the unfortunate situation in Palestine to disturb the peace and order in Kashmir. We are a professional force and are sensitive to public anguish. But J&K police have a legal responsibility to ensure law and order. It, however, wouldn’t allow cynical encashment of the public anger to trigger violence, lawlessness and disorder on Kashmir streets,” said the police spokesperson.
Kashmir IGP Vijay Kumar said that they won’t allow protests in the Valley in the larger interest of general public.