Arrest of Kashmiri activist result of “unbridled” bureaucratic powers: Omar Abdullah

Srinagar, June 16 (KMS): In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah has said that the arrest of a Kashmiri political activist over his remarks that he has more expectations from local officials rather than those from outside is the result of unbridled bureaucratic powers.

Omar Abdullah termed it as unacceptable that a person should be jailed for expressing a “totally harmless” opinion.

Fifty-year-old Sajad Rashid Sofi of Safapora area of Ganderbal district was arrested after he told Lieutenant Governor’s advisor Baseer Khan during an interaction of locals with him at Mansbal on June 10 that he can understand the issues of people of the area better as compared to officers from outside the territory because he is a local.

Sofi’s remarks did not go down well with Ganderbal Deputy Commissioner Krittika Jyotsna, who is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from Uttar Pradesh. According to the police report, she stood up from her seat and “strongly objected” to Sofi’s comments.

Sofi was summoned and booked by the police under Section 153 (promoting enmity between different groups) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the same night.

In a tweet, Omar Abdullah said, “I haven’t come across a worse reason to detain a person and I was detained for encouraging people to vote so that’s saying something. It’s unacceptable that a person should be jailed for expressing a totally harmless opinion. This is what happens when bureaucratic power is unbridled.”\

Sofi was granted bail by a local court in Srinagar on Saturday. However, even after this, police did not release Sofi and instead booked him under Section 107 of the IPC which entitles them to keep a person under “preventive custody” for being a “threat to peace”.

Communist Party of India Marxist and Peoples Conference have also criticised Sofi’s arrest and sought Lt Governor Manoj Sinha’s intervention in the matter.

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