June 29, 2020 11:05 pm

Businessman Mubeen Shah Booked For Sedition 

Dr Mubeen Shah – File Pic

Srinagar: Police on Monday slapped sedition case against prominent businessman and former president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Dr Mubeen Shah over a social media post in which he had flagged concerns over the newly introduced domicile laws.

According to reports, a case of sedition has been filed against Shah at the Ram Munshibagh police station over his social media post in which he had advocated boycott and ouster of non-Kashmiris over fears of demographic changes due to the nee domicile laws.

“Yes, we have lodged a case against him (Shah). Law will take its own course,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar Dr Haseeb Mughal was quoted as saying.

In the post that went viral on popular social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, the NRI businessman, had called for resistance against the new law that grants domicile rights to non-locals, who have lived for a period of 15 years or who have studied for seven years in the Union Territory. Children of central government officials who worked in Jammu and Kashmir for at least 10 years can also apply for domicile certificates issued by Tehsildars.

“All village/mohalla/town committees of Kashmir should come together and make sure that not a single non-local lives in their areas. They should ask all non-Kashmiris to vacate and leave Kashmir. Each and every local committee must do its part,” Shah had posted on social media.

The post further reads, “All of these committees should give clear instructions to people that anyone who tries to give space to non-locals will be socially boycotted and anyone who tries to sell land to any non-Kashmiri will be socially boycotted as well as evicted from the area”.

“These committees should also make it clear that any tehsildar or any administrator who’s found to have given domicile to any non-Kashmiri will also be socially boycotted. The social boycott against these people should be very strict”, the post added.

He further wrote, “They shouldn’t be allowed to enter into the village/mohalla/town and no one should speak to them or their families or do any kind of work with them. We should think of other efficient measures as well to stop India from changing the demographics of Kashmir”.

Urging people of Kashmir to unite and oppose the move, Shah wrote that it was most important for all Kashmiris to come together at this very important stage and collectively fight against “settler-colonialism”.

“It’s now or never. It’s do or die. All of us have to join hands and fight now! I find it the only way to stop this settler program in India. Let us do it,” he had written.

Pertinently, Shah was among hundreds of people, including politicians, religious, social and trade union leaders arrested and slapped with controversial Public Safety Act (PSA) after the government of India abrogated Article 370 and Article 35 A, besides splitting Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

He was released in December after his family had approached the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the PSA.

Shah was released under sub-section 2 of section 20 of the PSA, which allows the government to release a person at any time for any specified period either without conditions or upon such conditions specified in the direction as that person accepts and may at any time time cancel his release.

“In directing the release of any person, the government may require him to enter into a bond with or without sureties for the due observance of the condition specified in the directions,” the Act says.

Mubeen Shah figured during the ‘US Congress hearing on South Asia human rights, focused on India action in Kashmir’ in November 2019 when Indian-American Democratic Party’s lawmaker from Washington’s 7th Congressional district Pramila Jayapal raised the issue about his detention.

“One of the individuals detained without charges is Dr Mubeen Shah, who is the uncle of my constituents in Seattle…this is former CEO of chamber of commerce. His urologist who is affiliated with Registrar General of Hospital has called for his immediate release because of serious medical issues.”

The Deputy Ambassador to India “told me that he is receiving all medical help but that is not what the family is saying, that is not what his doctors are saying and I remain deeply concerned” she had said.

Assuring Jayapal, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G Wells had replied that America had taken up the issue of Shah with the Indian government.

“Yes, we explicitly raised the case of Dr Shah and shared your concern about the grounds for detention particularly given the health condition. We have received a response that he is receiving medication,” she had said.

Based out of Malaysia, where he runs his handicrafts business, Shah used to visit Kashmir once in a year. Earlier, he was president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He had come to Kashmir in May 2019 from Malaysia for a short duration but had to extend it due to a bereavement in his family and later due to infection for which he was undergoing treatment in the Srinagar hospital. (with KNO inputs)

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