A special court in Bengaluru has sentenced a 22-year-old to five years simple imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 for making derogatory comments on Facebook posts after the terrorist attack on CRPF jawans in Pulwama in 2019.
The order was passed by Judge Gangadhara C M of the Additional City Civil & Sessions Judge (Special Judge for trial of NIA Cases).
The accused, Faiz Rasheed, was 19 and a college student at the time of the crime and has been in custody for three-and-a-half years.
The court found him guilty under Section 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion,) and Section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence).
However, the trial was not conducted on Section 124A (Sedition) and it was kept in abeyance as per the Supreme Court directions keeping it in suspension.
He was sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of three years and pay a fine of Rs 10,000 for the offence under Section 153-A of the IPC. He was sentenced to simple imprisonment for a period of three years and fine of Rs 5,000 for the offence under Section 201 of the IPC.
He was sentenced to five years and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 for the offence under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The sentences will run concurrently.
Rasheed had made 23 comments on the posts of various media outlets celebrating the terrorist attack and mocking the Army.
The court in its recent judgement said the prosecution has produced the evidence to show that the accused made the derogatory posts on his Facebook account by supporting the suicide attack made on CRPF Jawans at Pulwama with an intention to promote enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religions which was likely to disturb the public tranquility.
It also noted that the prosecution has “adduced evidence to show that the accused made the posts and comments with an intention to disrupt the sovereignty and integrity of India and the comments made by the accused clearly go to show that he was felt happy with the incident attack on CRPF Jawans at Pulwama by terrorists which caused disaffection against India.” Since he was 19 years of age at the time of committing the offence, Rasheed was eligible for probation.
His advocate argued that he was below 21 years and had not committed any other offence and should be released on probation.
The court, however, cited reasons to deny him probation and sentenced him to imprisonment.
It reasoned that it was a deliberate act by Rasheed.
“The accused has not made derogatory comments one or two times. He made the comments to all the posts made by all the news channels on Facebook. Moreover, he was not an illiterate or ordinary man. He was an engineering student at the time of commission of the offence and he made the posts and comments intentionally on his facebook account,” the court observed.
The court pointed out that the accused “felt happy about killing of the great souls and celebrated the death of the great souls as (if) he was not an Indian. Therefore, the offence committed by the accused is against this great nation and heinous in nature.” “He commented for more than 24 times and he celebrated the death of the great souls as (if) he is not an Indian. Therefore, in the opinion of the court, if three years imprisonment is imposed for the offence punishable under section 153A and 201 of IPC respectively and five years imprisonment is imposed for the offence punishable under section 13 of UA (P) Act, it is proportionate to the crime committed by the accused,” it said deciding the quantum of punishment.
Forty CRPF personnel were killed in the terrorist attack carried out by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad in 2019.