Held for 'anti-Army' FB post after Pulwama, Kashmiri student moves Karnataka HC for bail

Held for 'anti-Army' FB post after Pulwama, Kashmiri student moves Karnataka HC for bail

One of three Kashmiri students arrested in Bengaluru rural district on charges of sedition for their alleged anti-Army posts on social media in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack in February has approached the Karnataka High Court seeking bail. A lower court had rejected the bail plea of the three students on March 19.

The High Court has given the state public prosecutor two weeks’ time to file objections against the bail plea.
Haris Manzoor and Gowhar Mushtaq of Spurthy College of Nursing and Zaqir Maqbool of the Chinai College of Nursing were arrested on February 16 on the basis of a complaint filed by Spurthy Nursing College’s principal Babu Dharmarajan about a brawl in hostel over pro-Army and anti-Army social media posts.

The complaint stated that two sets of students posted pro- and anti-Army messages on social media, triggering a fight between Kashmiri students and other students.

The case against them was filed under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 for allegedly supporting an unlawful activity, under IPC Sections 124 A for sedition, Section 153 A for promoting enmity between groups, Section 323 for voluntarily causing hurt and Section 504 for provoking breach of peace.

The Kashmiri students were accused of attacking Koushik Debnath, a third-year general nursing student, in the hostel on February 15. In response to a Facebook post by Debnath praising the Indian Army in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, the students from Kashmir posted negative comments about the Army, “calling them dogs, soldiers running here and there for money”, alleged the FIR filed by Suryanagar Police in Bangalore Rural district. “For sending messages abusing our Indian army and disrupting national integration, I request you to take appropriate legal action,’’ the complaint stated.

The three students have been languishing in prison since February 16 and their earlier bail plea filed through advocate Muzamil Mushtaq Shah was rejected on March 19. “The students have approached a new lawyer Bharat Kumar for the high court plea,” Shah said.

“Taking into consideration the highly dangerous nature of the content uploaded by the accused/petitioners on their Facebook wall, grave nature of the offences alleged and also on account of the fact that such activities are calculated to cause damage to the integrity of India and create disaffection against India in the minds of people, I am of the view that the petitioners are not entitled to be granted bail,’’ the principal sessions court had said while dismissing their plea on March 19.