Man Jailed For ‘No Expectations From Outsiders’ Remark Released

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Srinagar- A political activist, who was jailed after he told an advisor of the Lt governor that he has hopes from a Kashmiri official like him rather than bureaucrats from outside, has been released from detention, officials said on Wednesday.

SSP Ganderbal Suhail Munawar said that Sajad Sofi (50), a resident of Wani Mohalla in Safapora area of Ganderbal district has been released.

Sofi was jailed after he told an advisor of the Lt governor Baseer Khan that he has hopes from a Kashmiri official like him rather than bureaucrats from outside during ‘Janta Darbar” at Mansbal on June 10

Speaking about the problems faced by the people of his area, Sofi told Khan that he can understand the issues better as compared to officers from outside the union territory because he is a local, according to the police report.

He said, “I can have expectations from you because you are a Kashmiri and you can understand us. I can grab you by the collar and seek answers. But what expectations can I have from officers who are outsiders?”

This comment did not go down well with Ganderbal Deputy Commissioner Krittika Jyotsna, a 2014 IAS officer and wife of Rahul Pandey, who is posted with the Raj Bhavan as the director of information. Jyotsna and Pandey came to Jammu and Kashmir in February this year on inter-cadre deputation.

The police report said that Jyotsna stood up from her seat and “strongly objected” to Sofi”s comments.

Sofi was summoned and booked by the police under Section 153 of the IPC on the same night.

“The circumstances of the incident and from the statements, a crime under 153A of the IPC is made,” the police report said.

Sofi was granted bail by a local court here on Saturday, saying “bail is a rule and its rejection is an exception”.

“Bail in non-bailable crime cannot be refused without assigning a strong reason although bail is a discretion of the court and discretion of bail cannot be exercised arbitrarily.

“The allegedly committed crime attributed to the applicant does not carry life imprisonment or death penalty debarring this court to exercise discretion of bail in favour of the applicant. As such, this court has a sufficient reason to exercise discretion of bail in favour of the applicant,” the court said.

However, even after this, the police did not release Sofi and instead booked him under Section 107 of the IPC which entitles them to keep a person under “preventive custody” for being a “threat to peace”.

“Sofi is under preventive custody under sections 107 and 151 (of IPC),” Senior Superintendent of Police, Ganderbal, Suhail Munawar said.

He said there were apprehensions of “breach of peace, so he (Sofi) was taken into custody”.

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