Srinagar, May 16 (UNI) Alleging that people, including a graffiti artist, are being booked for expressing solidarity with Palestine in the valley, former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said that ‘Public Safety Act (PSA) is centre’s go to method for every problem in Kashmir’.
Ms Mehbooba said 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 and a preacher is arrested simply for expressing solidarity with Palestinians,” Ms Mehbooba wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.
The former chief minister in the previous PDP-BJP coalition government in J&K alleged that Kashmir is an open air prison where people’s thoughts are being monitored and they are punished for it. “There is no outlet left to express one’s opinion and this is a deliberate attempt to push Kashmiris to the wall,” she wrote in a series of tweets.
Reacting to reports that two sons of late Ashraf Sehrai have been arrested and booked, Ms Mehbooba alleged that ‘in rest of India dead are being ill treated but in Kashmir it’s the living who are made to suffer’.
“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 tweeted.
“Expressing solidarity with Palestine is no crime,” Ms Mehbooba wrote and also posted picture of a pro-Palestine graffiti that was painted by an artist in Kashmir. The artist, identified as Mudasir Gul, and about two dozen people have been arrested by police during raids for drawing pro-Palestine paintings and protests in Srinagar.
Meanwhile, issuing a stern warning that situation in Palestine would not be allowed to disrupt peace and Law and Order (L&O) in Kashmir, a senior police officer on Saturday said expressing opinion is a freedom but engineering and inciting violence on streets is unlawful. “We would not allow elements to use Palestine situation to disrupt peace and order in Kashmir,” Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar said.
He said J&K Police is keeping a very close watch on elements who are attempting to leverage the unfortunate situation in Palestine to disturb public peace and order in the Kashmir valley. “We are a professional force and are sensitive to public anguish,” he said.
But, he said, J&K police has a legal responsibility to ensure law and order as well. “It, however, wouldn’t allow cynical encashment of the public anger to trigger violence, lawlessness and disorder on Kashmir streets. Expressing opinion is a freedom but engineering and inciting violence on streets is unlawful,” he said.
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