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Journalist booked for 'inciting violence, disinformation' on Facebook

india Updated: Jun 10, 2011 21:01 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

Kashmir's reputed broadcaster and London-based BBC Urdu Services senior journalist Nayeema Ahmad Mehjoor has been booked by the J-K police for "inciting violence and spreading disinformation" on social networking site Facebook.

"She (Mehjoor) has been booked for inciting violence and spreading disinformation. (Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah) Geelani does not come on roads and pelt stones but he incites violence and that is why he is arrested," said Kashmir inspector general of police Shiv Murari Sahai in a press conference in Srinagar on Thursday.

Mehjoor has been booked under Section 66 of the Information Technology Act; using the IT for spreading dissatisfaction against the state.

Mehjoor was booked for her comment 'Why did police kill this man in Lalchowk? Any reason?' on June 6 on the Facebook made the same day a man was killed in Srinagar's Lal Chowk area by an unidentified gunman. The man, police claim, was killed in a criminal conspiracy by three armed men and not police.

"Kya police aaram sey nahi betheni deygi logoon ko? (Will the police not allow us to leave in peace?" wrote Mehjoor in reaction to FB users' comments.

A case against Mehjoor was lodged the same day and a letter was dispatched to her two residential addresses in Srinagar and south Kashmir's Pulwama district.

"I cannot say anything on her behalf," said Mehjoor's husband Abdal Ahmad Mehjoor, a retired programme executive of the All India Radio (AIR).

Mehjoor's FIR has come after at least half a dozen youth were picked up by the police for expressing their comments on the Facebook regarding the 2010 unrest in the last 10 months. A senior priest in south Kashmir, Qazi Yasir, also faces the similar charges for his FB updates made in 2010.

"It does not matter what platform it is but she (Mehjoor) was spreading dissent and disinformation," said IG Sahai.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the police action as "vindication of lawyer Ram Jethmalani's recent statement that the state government function in a Nazi style". "The government intends to kill Kashmir's intellectual space and choke freedom of expression, which is at the heart of a democracy," said PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar.

Well-known broadcaster Mehjoor has been writing articles for local dailies about the 2010 unrest, reflecting on the daily happenings. She also went public on her rejection to three-member Kashmir interlocutors' invitation for a peace conference on the Kashmir problem.

Mehjoor shot to fame for playing the character of Nune Koor in the Srinagar AIR's famous programme Zooni Daab, which started in early 1970s. She joined the BBC in 1992 and left for London after some time. In 1997, she again joined the AIR to launch Sherbeen, a progamme based on people's grievances, and attracted the highest number of listeners for any programme in the Radio Kashmir. Sherbeen received state award this year only.