No case in 'Free Kashmir' poster without probe, says Anil Deshmukh

Updated: Jan 09, 2020, 08:33 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

Home Minister Anil Deshmukh says will enquire first, take call on whether to brand Mehak Mirza Prabhu as anti-national later.

Mehak Mirza Prabhu
Mehak Mirza Prabhu

The Colaba police may have registered an FIR against Mehak Mirza Prabhu who held a 'Free Kashmir' poster during #OccupyGateway, but Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Wednesday that no criminal case can be made without a proper enquiry.

Deshmukh said the preliminary impression has led to doubt on charging Prabhu for resorting to anti-national actions because, she has said that through the placard, she did not ask for Kashmir to be made an independent country, but for the government-imposed restrictions to be lifted in the newly created union territory. Police have been asked to verify who made the placard which Prabhu said she found lying on the ground.

"We will to have to find out who made the placard and brought it to the protest site," Deshmukh said. He added that the city police might be asked to withdraw the FIR, filed against Prabhu and others under Section 153 (B) (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on Tuesday evening. The minister made the statements after a one-day special session of the state legislature came to an end.

Prabhu has said that she asked for freedom for Kashmiris to express themselves, freedom from the Internet lockdown and did not mean to say that it should be freed from India. She apologised for holding the placard and said she wasn't shouting any slogans at all.

"In fact, I was holding a flower and talking to people about the Internet ban being wrong and that we should try to make peace," she told mid-day on Tuesday.

Prabhu's picture holding the placard went viral on social media with BJP leaders and supporters calling her anti-national. Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis and senior minister Jayant Patil engaged in a fierce Twitter war after the former asked Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray what he was doing when the controversial banner was raised two-kilometre-away from Mantralaya.

U-turn in Koregaon Bhima violence probe

A day after he was quoted as saying that senior police officers, accused of fabricating evidence against the organisers of the Elgar Parishad held a day before communal violence broke out in Koregaon Bhima near Pune in 2018 would not be spared, Deshmukh denied having said anything of that sort. "I haven't said anything to media in this regard. I haven't said that criminal cases against alleged urban Naxals or other activists would be withdrawn. In fact, I'm going to review all Koregaon Bhima cases before commenting on this issue," he said. The minister added that he disapproved of the BJP's policy of labelling those who spoke against its government as urban Naxals.

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