J&K Police book lawyers for comparing Afzal Guru with Bhagat Singh

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Shunning the kid glove approach, Jammu and Kashmir police has lodged an FIR against unidentified lawyers for putting up banners declaring Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Maqbool Bhat as national heroes and comparing them with Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru.

Police have booked the lawyers under section 13 of Unlawful Activities Act in the police station Batamaloo. The case was registered after a banner was put up in the Saddar court on February 9. It contained pictures of Guru, Bhat, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru.

February 9 was the fifth death anniversary of Guru and separatists had called for Kashmir shutdown to protest his hanging and burial in Tihar Jail in 2013.

“It portrayed Guru and Bhat as heroes of Kashmir, while Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were depicted as heroes of India. Basically, they were trying to damage the sovereignty and integrity of the country,” reads the FIR.

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Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Srinagar, however, played down the FIR saying it hardly bothers them. “This is a routine matter with the police. People in Kashmir take out procession and they register an FIR. We demand azadi and they register FIR. To me it is nothing. We do not consider it a big issue,” said GN Shaheen, General Secretary of J&K High Court Bar Association Srinagar.

Police has not named any lawyer and not called for anyone for questioning so far. “We are not feeling any discomfort. These FIRs are not for the first time. They have not named anyone. It was hartal on that day,” said Shaheen.

Mushtaq Ahmad Dar, senior vice president of the Bar Association, said there was no reason or occasion for lodging an FIR. “There is nothing specified in the FIR. Only FIR has been lodged and there is nothing concrete. There was no reason or occasion for lodging an FIR,” he said.