Gujjar Leader Arrested After ‘Provocative’ Speech in Anantnag

Talib Hussain | File Photo

Srinagar: A month after he demanded justice for a tribal youth killed by paramilitary troops, police in Kashmir have arrested prominent Gujjar activist Talib Hussain for allegedly “provoking public against the forces.”

Hussain was arrested by the police in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

Station House officer (SHO) Larnoo, Nisar Ahmad, told Kashmir Observer that Hussain “gave a provocative speech after the death of a tribal youth allegedly in CRPF firing. He called it a fake encounter and provoked people against the government and security forces.”

The SHO said that Hussain was under police remand. An FIR No. 65 of 2021 was registered over 20 days ago under the Indian Penal Code’s Sections 505: spreading rumours or fake news, and 153: promoting enmity between different groups.

On October 7, troops of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force’s 80 Battalion opened fire at a civilian vehicle, killing the driver on the spot. The killed civilian was identified as 23-year-old tribal Parvez Ahmad Bokda, currently residing in the Kashwan village of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

The police later admitted that Bokda was killed in CRPF firing but claimed that the troops deployed near the monghal Bridge in the Anantnag town had opened fire in “self defense”.

In a second incident involving the central paramilitary force, on October 24, a civilian identified as Shahid Aijaz was killed near a CRPF camp in south Kashmir’s Shopian. The police, this time, claimed that the civilian was killed during cross fire after a patrol party of the paramilitary retalited to alleged militant firing. The administration has ignored Aijaz’s family request for the release of the camp’s CCTV footage to verify the claim.

Meanwhile, Hussain was arrested on November 7 night, a month after he — in a viral video — questioned the official account and demanded investigation into the killing. He questioned the need to open fire and the police later having forced Bokda’s family to conduct his funeral in haste.

The SHO Larnoo said that several videos of Hussain were being used as evidence against him.

Hussain is a member of the People’s Democratic Party. He has played a prominent role in seeking the implementation of the Forest Rights Act in J&K and later highlighting the Kathua case wherein members of the Hindu community raped and murdered an 8 year old tribal girl.

Tariq Ahmad Breng, Hussain’s lawyer, told Kashmir Observer that they have moved a bail application in the court and the government has been asked for the objection tomorrow. “I hope the bail will be provided in our favour” he said.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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