Uttarakhand: Newspapers indulge in inflammatory reporting, police file cases against Shehla, ABVP activists 

Most popular national Hindi dailies resorted to inflammatory reporting without checking facts regarding whether the Kashmiri girls shouted anti national slogans or not, which the girls later denied

SMA Kazmi

Uttarakhand Police has filed a case against JNU student and activist Shehla Rashid under section 153, 504 and 505 of the IPC for her tweet regarding the detention of Kashmiri girl students in a private hostel following an alleged gherao by a local mob on February 16.

The police claim that the case against Shehla Rashid has been registered on a complaint by a local resident. Interestingly, while the police has filed a case against Rashid, it has failed to take cognizance of the reporting done by the local vernacular and national English newspapers about the alleged incident.

Shehla Rashid had tweeted that kashmiri girl students were being detained in their rooms for over four hours by a mob seeking action against Kashmiri students. It was alleged that the Kashmiri students had raised “pro-Pakistani” slogans as a procession was being taken out by local residents in the memory of the Pulwama martyrs. The girls deny raising any such slogans.

The Dehradun police reached the spot quickly and denied that the girls were detained. SSP Dehradun Nivedita Kukreti herself reached the hostel and assured the girls of support against any kind of harassment.

However, the reporting by the local vernacular dailies stated that the Kashmiri girl students raised provocative slogans and subsequently the local residents and some members of the right-wing group gheraoed the hostel.

A report in a prominent national daily states that the Kashmiri students allegedly threw stones at the procession which led to this gherao. The largest circulated Hindi daily of the state had a lead story alleging that the Kashmiri students raised provocative slogans.

Another popular Hindi daily also reported that the girls raised slogans which provoked the locals. The Dehradun edition of a popular national English daily said, “20 Jammu and Kashmir girls lock themselves in room as locals gheraoed the hostel”. The Dehradun police, later tweeted that there was confusion about the slogans being raised and the girls were never detained.

Asked whether a case was registered against Shehla Rashid, Ashok Kumar, Director General (law and Order), Uttarakhand Police said, “a case has been registered on the complaint of a local resident and action will be taken after proper investigation.” On the question of inflammatory reporting by certain sections of the media, Ashok Kumar said that Uttarakhand police has already issued an advisory against spreading and believing rumors.

Meanwhile, Dehradun police have also booked 23 students of DAV College Students’ Union affiliated to Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for rioting at Uttaranchal College of Science and Technology on Sahastradhara road on Monday evening. The ABVP activists had a confrontation with the police on Monday when they were agitating at Uttaranchal College of Science and Technology on Sahastradhara road demanding ouster of Kashmiri students from the college.

Anil Kumar Raturi, DGP, Uttarakhand police said that no untoward incident took place regarding Kashmiri students in the state on Tuesday.

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