Mumbai: The Colaba police on Tuesday evening filed an FIR against Mehak Mirza Prabhu, the woman protester at the Gateway whose placard reading Free Kashmir kicked up a storm with ex-CM Devendra Fadnavis and others alleging that the agitation in support of JNU students had taken on a divisive character.
Mehak was booked under Section 153B of the IPC for imputations and assertions prejudicial to national integration. An arrest hasn’t been made but a conviction might lead to a jail term for a maximum of five years.
The FIR was filed suo motu by Colaba police. She clarified her position in a video she put out on social media, saying she talked about “basic constitutional rights” and “freedom of expression” in J&K in view of the “internet shutdown” there.
Responding to Fadnavis’s tweet on the matter, NCP’s water resources minister Jayant Patil tweeted: “Devendraji It’s ‘free Kashmir’ from all discriminations, bans on cellular networks and central control. I can’t believe that a responsible leader like you trying (sic) to confuse people by decoding words in such a hatred way. Is it losing power or losing self-control.”
Speaking about what she termed as the “abuse, hate and narrative” that the image of her holding up the poster had spawned, Mehak told , “I have been in too much distress. I’m an artiste, I tell stories and I was there like everyone else with no other agenda. I did not write or create that poster. It was lying around, which I happened to lift and hold up.”In her 3.26-minute video on social media, she said her intentions had been “misinterpreted”.
Sena parliamentary party leader Sanjay Raut said, “I read in the newspaper that those who held the ‘Free Kashmir’ banner clarified they want to be free of restrictions on internet services, mobile services and other issues.” However, he added that “if anyone talks of freedom of Kashmir from India, it will not be tolerated.”
Ex-BJP MP Kirit Somaiya said, “Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut endorsed the anti-India ‘Kashmir ko chahiye Azadi’ protest at Gateway of India. Does Sena want Article 370 in Kashmir again? How many compromises will Sena bear for power?”