Death penalty to boy who spread polio vaccine rumour

Srinagar, February 15: Charges amounting to death or life imprisonment have been slapped by the Jammu and Kashmir Police against a youth for spreading rumours of death of children who were administered polio vaccine in Kashmir last month.

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The accused has been identified as a resident of the Pirbagh locality of Srinagar named Irshad Ahmad Bhat. He was arrested on Jan 20 for uploading a “concocted story” of death of children due to polio vaccine on his Facebook page on January 17th. The police slapped charges against the accused person under Section 505 (B) of the Ranbir Penal Code.

The story uploaded by the man said that the polio vaccine used by authorities that day was expired or toxic and a large number of children were down fever after getting the vaccination done with some of them even dying as a reaction to the vaccine. His reports had sent a panic in Kashmir but it was only a rumour. The police took cognizance of such rumours and arrested several youths under Section 505 (B) of the RPC in Kashmir and Irshad was one of them.

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As per Irshad’s counsel, the Irshad’s post on Facebook was a good intention of spreading information and it doesn’t amount to rumour-mongering.Consequently, Irshad filed a bail application in the Court of the Second Additional Sessions Judge and bail was granted to the man by the Court of the Second Additional Sessions Judge, Srinagar with the observation that the offence committed by him was not punishable with death or life imprisonment and also the police had failed to complete the investigation within the stipulated time of two weeks.

The court also observed that enough time was granted to police to complete investigation into the case and he is entitled to get bail for the reason that the investigation in the case for the commission of offence under Section 505 of the RPC, “which is a special offence triable by a Special Judge”, is not complete despite the lapse.

However, Police made the objection on bail with a view that the accused is involved in heinous offences and may tamper with the prosecution witnesses.