Srinagar, Feb 5: The netizens who recently threatened three members of an all-girl rock band "Pragaash" in Jammu and Kashmir have been booked under a controversial section of the Information Technology Act, police said here today.
In Dec 2012, vocalist-guitarist Noma Nazir, guitarist Aneeka Khalid and drummer Farah Deeba took part in the 'Battle of the Bands' competition in Srinagar. The Class X students vowed the audience and won the best performance award. However, their joy was short-lived as threats started pouring in.
The teenaged girls were targeted by several users of a popular social networking site. Though the state's Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was among those to offer support to them, the girls yesterday announced their decision to disband in the wake of severe criticism mostly from conservative Kashmiris and a 'fatwa' that was issued by Grand Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad.
Given this, the statement of Jammu and Kashmir Police that "A case under Section 66 A of the IT Act and Section 506 RPC (Criminal Intimidation) has been registered in police station Rajbagh with regard to the hate messages posted on the Facebook page of the Pragaash band" seems to have come rather late.
Citing the numerous posts on Facebook, police officials pointed out that they need time to ascertain who all were behind the hate messages. "So far half a dozen Facebook users who had posted hate messages have been identified while efforts are on to identify the others. Arrests are likely to be made in the next couple of days," a police spokesperson said.
Incidentally, the section under which the first information report has been filed against the accused in this case is the same one that was used to book two girls in Maharashtra's Palghar town. Shaheen Dhadda and her friend Rinu Srinivasan were arrested in Oct 2012 after the latter merely 'liked' the former's Facebook post about the shutdown in Mumbai on the day Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray was cremated.
With their arrests sparking nationwide outrage and a student from Delhi describing Sec 66A of the IT Act as "unconstitutional" in her public interest litigation, the government was forced to modify the rules.