Student leader and human rights activist
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on September 21, 2019, regarding the harassment and intimidation of activist and human rights defender Ms. Shehla Rashid by foisting a false case of sedition by the Special Cell of Delhi Police on September 3, 2019. Ms. Rashid is a Ph.D. student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and was the Vice-President of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) in 2015-16. In February 2016, she had led a students' agitation against the arrest of her fellow-students on charges of sedition. She has been vocal on several social issues and is also associated with the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement.
On August 4, 2019, the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir came under a complete communication lockdown followed by the abrogation of Article 370. The same day, orders under Section 144 Cr.P.C. were imposed placing severe restrictions on movement for citizens as well as journalists with reports of civilian protestors being shot with pellet guns, torture on residents and a general inability to access basic medical facilities among other predicaments.
In this context, on August 18, 2019,Ms. Rashid alleged in a series of tweets about human rights violations in Kashmir by personnel of the Indian Army. In particular, she stated “ Armed forces are entering houses at night, picking up boys, ransacking houses, deliberately spilling rations on the floor, mixing oil with rice, etc.” & “In Shopian, 4 men were called into the Army camp and "interrogated" (tortured). A mic was kept close to them so that the entire area could hear them scream, and be terrorised. This created an environment of fear in the entire area.”
Following this, on August 19, 2019, a criminal complaint was filed against Ms. Rashid by Adv Alok Srivastava, alleging that she is “deliberately and intentionally spreading the aforesaid FAKE NEWS with the intention to incite violence in the country, to malign the image of our revered Indian Army nationally as well as Internationally, and to create unrest in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and in other parts of the country; to promote disharmony, enmity, hatred, ill-will between different groups and also to provoke breach of peace in our country.”
On September 3, 2019 an FIR was registered by the Delhi Police Special Cell against Ms. Rashid for offences under IPC Sections 124A, 153A, 153, 504 and 505. The complaint further stated that the aforesaid tweet by Ms.Rashid had intended to excite disaffection towards the Government of India and that was being shared on international platforms, causing irreparable injury to the reputation of India.