New Delhi: The J&K Police have registered an FIR a journalist for his WhatsApp status on a boat tragedy, in which 21 children had died.
Journalist Sajid Raina, who reports from Bandipora district for local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO), said he received a call from police informing him that an FIR has been lodged against him under Sections 153 and 505(b) of the Indian Penal Code.
“I was shocked to hear that an FIR has been lodged for keeping a simple WhatsApp status about 20 children, who died on May 3, 2006, when their boat capsized in Wular Lake. This is really shocking. I don’t know what was wrong with my WhatsApp status,” Raina said.
He had shared photographs of the deceased students along with the caption, “the Wular martyred… The children share their graves here. Brothers have been buried together, somewhere three children are buried in the same grave. The tragedy is still fresh. #Boatcollapse.”
A police statement said an FIR was lodged against “one person namely Sajid Raina”, without describing his profession, for his WhatsApp status on May 30, saying it “attracts investigation into the contents and intention behind it”.
“What was wrong with my status? Can’t we call innocent kids who lost their lives in a tragedy ‘martyrs’? Only 20 people had seen the WhatsApp status before I deleted it,” Raina asked.
On May 30, 2006, 21 kids and one teacher of the Burning Candle School of Handwara, who had gone for a picnic at a hilltop shrine on the banks of the Wular lake, died when a boat of the MARCOS commandos of Indian Navy carrying them drowned.
The deaths triggered massive protests in the Kashmir Valley, forcing the then Ghulam Nabi Azad-led government to order a judicial inquiry in the incident.
The inquiry officer found three navy officials, the boat operator and the principal of the school guilty of negligence.