Kin of youth arrested in Madhya Pradesh on sedition charges demand probe by independent agency

Gulzar, whose son Iqbal is among the 15 men arrested by Shahpur police on Monday, has written a letter to the President, National Human Rights Commission.

Published: 22nd June 2017 01:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd June 2017 01:09 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BHOPAL:  Two days after 15 youth were arrested and sedition charge slapped against them in Burhanpur district of Madhya Pradesh for allegedly raising pro-Pakistan slogans after India’s loss to Pakistan in Sunday’s Champions Trophy cricket final, the kin of arrested youths have sought probe into the episode by an independent agency.

Gulzar, whose son Iqbal is among the 15 men arrested by Shahpur police on Monday, has written a letter to the President, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Minorities, MP DGP, leader of Opposition in state assembly Ajay Singh ‘Rahul’ and state Congress chief Arun Yadav on Wednesday.

In the two-page letter, Gulzar has submitted that none of the 15 youths arrested in the matter had either celebrated Pakistan’s victory over India or raised pro-Pakistan slogans in Mohad village on Sunday night.

On the contrary, a few unscrupulous elements burst crackers after the match to strain relations between Hindus and Muslims living peacefully in the village, which has a Muslim-dominated population.
The village has never experienced any communal violence, even when there have been communal tension in other parts of Burhanpur district.

Gulzar added in the letter that Shahpur police stated that crackers were burst and pro-Pakistan slogans were raised by our sons outside Badi Masjid, “but I, being a resident of the same locality in the village, neither heard a single cracker burst, nor pro-Pak slogans the entire Sunday evening and night.”

He further alleged that before lodging a case of sedition against the youths, the police should have first recorded statements of everyone concerned, including those related to the 15 youths.
Gulzar had also submitted in the letter that women and children in the village are living under fear as cops are regularly terrorizing them in the village.

“We therefore demand a probe into the entire matter by an independent agency, which shall be a non-police agency,” added Gulzar in the letter.

Notwithstanding the request by a group of lawyers to Burhanpur District Bar Association on Tuesday not to contest the case of the arrested men, a lawyer Ubed Shaikh has decided to defend the 15 arrested men in the court.

“I have talked to the family members of nine of the 15 arrested persons and found that they have been falsely implicated in a sedition case. Two of the arrested persons, who have been shown as adults are actually minors. We’ve started our fight for justice by writing to the President and the NHRC for probe by an independent agency in the matter. I’ll soon move an application before court for bail for my clients in the case,” Shaikh, told The New Indian Express on Wednesday.  

However, Shahpur police station in-charge Sanjay Pathak maintained that the police have registered the case against the 15 men under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 124A (sedition) of IPC, based on factual evidence and not on basis of any hearsay.

“There wasn’t any marriage in the Mohad village, then how come remains of a large quantity of burnt crackers were recovered by police? If the 15 men hadn’t committed anything wrong, why did they run away from their village and were hiding at other places?” questioned Pathak.

He further claimed that he had held a public dialogue with villagers on Wednesday, in which the villagers apologised for the mistake committed by their sons and also assured that such incidents would not be repeated.

Youth arrested for posting objectionable post after India-Pakistan cricket final
A 22-year-old college student, Mehboob Ali, was arrested in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh for an objectionable post on Facebook after India’s loss to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy Final on Sunday.

“Mehboob had posted that there was an Eid party in Pakistan to celebrate India’s defeat in the title clash. He said that he was going to enjoy the kheer-gosht feast in Pakistan and anyone who wished to join him should come,” said Sheopur Kotwali in-charge Sunil Khemaria.

A complaint in the matter was lodged by an RSS-affiliated journalist on Monday and subsequent probe revealed that Mehboob had posted the content, which he deleted later, said Khemaria. “We subsequently arrested Mehboob on Monday and booked him under Section 151 of CrPc to prevent any breach of peace by the post,” said Khemaria.

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