Blasphemy case against national magazine in Kashmir

Court issues warrants against 2 more columnists

SRINAGAR, May 9: A city court has issued warrants against two more columnists associated with the editorial board of a weekly magazine published from New Delhi for publication of pictures of Holy Mecca on a pack of cards.

According to a prosecution officer, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar has issued the warrants and asked the police to execute the same without any fail.

On April 29, the same court had asked the SSP Srinagar to execute warrants against the editorial board of the magazine.

Earlier, the police station Maisuma had filed an application before the court seeking issuance of warrants against the accused editors for ‘not cooperating’ with the police in its investigations.

The case pertains to blasphemous publication by a New Delhi magazine against which people had staged a large scale protests in Kashmir wherein many protesters were injured.

On February 28, 2006, Police had to fire teargas canisters and use batons to disperse protest demonstrations in many parts of Srinagar against publication of pictures of Holy Mecca on a pack of cards in this weekly magazine published from New Delhi. The police had also seized the copies of the magazine that day.

As the picture of the Holy Mecca had appeared on playing cards, agitated youth had taken to streets at Lal Chowk, Budshah Chowk, Maisuma and Court Road areas of Srinagar. Shouting pro-Islamic, anti-India slogans and anti-US slogans, the protesters had accused the weekly magazine of hurting the sentiments of Muslims.

The protesters had burnt worn out tyres and pelted stones on the police. Soon the shopkeepers had downed their shutters and joined the demonstrations. Police had lobbed teargas shells and resorted to baton-charge to disperse the protesters as they tried to stop traffic on main roads.

Shops and business establishments in the nearby localities, including Maisuma, Madina Chowk, Gaw Kadal, Red Cross Road, Court Road and Exchange Road had remained closed. Traffic movement had also been affected in these areas.

Similar demonstrations had taken place few other parts of the old city, including Khanyar. In Budgam town police had to arrest three activists of Muslim League during demonstrations against the publication of image of Holy Mecca.

Police had also to call a meeting of senior citizens and Muslim scholars to discuss the issue and take a final decision on the latest issue of the magazine in which pictures were published.

An FIR against the magazine was registered by police station Maisuma under sections 295 (A) and 153 both sections pertaining to hurting religious sentiments and causing disruption in public harmony.

The prosecution officer told Kashmir Despatch that since the investigation have almost been complete but the accused editors were not cooperating with police. “The editorial board of the magazine had also approached Delhi High Court for quashment of FIR registered against them by police station Maisuma but their petition was dismissed by the Delhi High Court for non prosecution,” said the prosecuting officer.

 Source: Kashmir Times