Just for a sketch in Urdu text, JKBOSE chief faces sedition charge

By: Nazir Ganaie
Srinagar, Dec 19: Top BOSE officers, including the chairman, have been slapped with criminal cases for a government school text book thought to be depicting the Kashmir Police as zalim.
Police insists that the ‘offending’ book on elementary Urdu alphabet for first primary kids features an illustration of a Kashmir cop to qualify the word zalim (oppressor) beginning with the letter Zua.
Charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy along with defamation, the chairman of the Board of School Education (BOSE), Dr. Sheikh Bashir Ahmad, however, maintains that the image is that of a hooligan, with no intention to malign the police.
According to sources, the police move over the book had been afoot for over a month when its picture of a moustached figure wielding a cane was brought to the notice of top officers.
“They (the BOSE) have depicted the figure in a uniform, which is an insult. Any attempt to defame the police will be strongly dealt with,” a senior police officer said, asking not to be named.
The BOSE chairman said that orders to delete the picture had already gone out.
When asked about the police charges against him and others, 124-A RPC (sedition), 120-B RPC (criminal conspiracy), 502 RPC (defamation) and 504 RPC (provocation with intent to breach peace), the officer denied any deliberate attempt or conspiracy to defame the police.
“We will delete the picture if it has hurt anyone,” he said, adding that he and the other officers charged by the police had recorded their statements.
The deputy superintendent of police (DSP) for East Srinagar, Shailendra Mishra, heading the investigations into the case, did not answer why his department thought that the picture maligned the police.
“The case has been lodged at the instance of the SSP (senior superintendent of the police) for Srinagar,” he told the Kashmir Observer, and hung up.
When contacted once more, he claimed to be in the middle of a law-and-order situation, and cut the line again.

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