Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir police have registered initial information reports (FIR) about two Kashmiri cases based on an Indian Army complaint. The two sites, The Kashmir Walla and The Kashmiriyat, reported that a religious school in the Shopian region south of Kashmir was’ forced ‘by the Army to hold a Republic Day event on January 26, which was set up by the military and was false’.
Police have listed FIRs under section 153 (for the purpose of causing incitement with the intent to cause violence) and 505 (statements permitting public corruption) of the Indian Penal Code.
Jamia Siraj ul Uloom, the religious school in question, near the police station and two soldiers in Imam Sahib village, hosted a Republic Day event on January 26. During a video clip of the celebration, in which young boys were seen carrying a tricolor while an Indian national anthem was playing. in the background, posted on social media, it became so widespread that it was considered a rare event as few religious schools in Kashmir celebrated Republic Day.
Later, Kashmir Walla and The Kashmiriyat held media reports that Muhammad Yusuf Manto, the founder and chairman of the school, told their reporters that the Army’s 44 Rashtriya Rifles were pressuring school officials to do Republic Day work for about a month. Kashmir Walla was the first to report the incident, after which The Kashmiriyat filed a similar report.
After the reports were filed, the Jamia authorities Siraj ul Uloom said they were distributing the letter on social media, refusing to be “forced on account of any army or troops”.
Signed by the school principal, the letter states that the January 26 celebration ended in peace and happiness, and that “news from The Kashmir walla and Kashmiriyat about the pressure to organize such events at the hands of security agencies has been dismissed as baseless allegations. ”
‘We have facts’
The FIRs against the two sites include the phrase: “These kinds of false stories are of great concern to the security of the region as they can create violence and create legal and operational problems for the police and the military.”
But editors of The Kashmir Walla and The Kashmiriyat have told The Wire that they have evidence of a previous lawsuit against school officials.
“We did not misrepresent any name or distort the facts,” said Qazi Shibli, editor of The Kashmiriyat, adding that the move was a way to deter brave people.
Fahad Shah, founder and editor of The Kashmir Walla, also said that the site has audio recordings and proofs as proof of the authenticity of its report and will answer the case in court.
According to Shah, two days after the article was published on the site, social media users began marking Kashmir Walla while passing a handwritten statement with the school’s logo.
Shah said that they have tried to call the school authorities to inspect it, but the chairperson’s call is still not available and that they could not confirm the statement which is why they did not take it seriously. He said that but later they learned that a VEHICLE had arrived in our area.
He also added that Kashmir Walla stands by its report and can prove it anywhere. “If I have to go to court, I can prove all the evidence we have about the matter,” he said.
Cingo tried several times to talk to the principal, but each time he received a text message saying ‘this number is missing’.
The DIGIPUB News India Foundation, a body representing digital media organizations in South Africa, has blamed MOTO against Kashmir Walla and The Kashmiriyat over Jammu and Kashmir police. To date, there have been no convictions from any Kashmir journalist or newsgroup in connection with the incident.
According to Shah, some media outlets have published a police statement targeting both sites without consulting the relevant editors on their side of the story.
“We could not have received a phone call from the school when this article was published. So instead of believing in anything else, Kashmir journalists should have contacted us, ”said Shah.
Following the repeal of Article 370 in August 2019, most journalists and news organizations in Jammu and Kashmir have been refraining from avoiding potential problems.
“This is not the first attack on the media. There have been many such incidents before, but journalists in Kashmir should learn that it will not be the last, ”said Shah.
This is not the first time that Jamia Siraj ul Uloom has been embroiled in controversy. Last year, police in Jammu and Kashmir in Shopian arrested three teachers of a religious school under the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act, saying they had been monitoring the school after hearing that some of its teachers were involved in military activities.
However, the school authorities denied the allegations.