New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh's statement that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief Hafiz Saeed had supported the protests at the JNU did create quite a controversy. Later on the home ministry said that the statement was based on inputs from various intelligence agencies.
Whether Saeed had supported the protest or not would require a thorough probe. However what one could say is that such protests especially when there is a Kashmir angle to it are normally tailor made for people such as Saeed.
Such persons are quick to jump and issue a statement in a bid to indicate that they are the saviours of the Kashmir people.
There has been one similar incident in the past as well involving Kashmiri students and at that time Saeed had jumped to their rescue. Intelligence Bureau officials tell OneIndia that people like Saeed or Maulana Masood Azhar who sponsor militancy in Kashmir thrive on such situations.
Tailor made protest for Saeed and company:
Let us recap. It was March 2014 and sedition charges had been slapped against 67 students from Kashmir who were studying in a college at Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. The charge against them was that they were celebrating Pakistan's victory in a cricket match.
There was an uproar about sedition charges being filed and several officers too had questioned the need for that.
They felt that it is a very dicey situation since it would further an anti India sentiment among these students.
After the charges were filed, Hafiz Saeed was quick to react. In a statement he said that he would offer scholarships to the 67 students and make sure they could study anywhere they wanted.
Take the JNU protest into account. It was a demonstration condemning the hanging of Afzal Guru. The Afzal Guru issue is a very emotive one in Kashmir and terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba or Jaish-e-Mohammad and also the separatists are beating the issue to the hilt.
As expected there was support from Hafiz Saeed for the protests.
A catch 22 situation:
For the law enforcement agencies the situation is a tricky one. Filing of sedition charges is a two edged sword.
It could send across a very strong message to those shouting anti India slogans. It could also worsen the situation and increase the hatred some of these persons have for the country.
Officials say that sedition charges should be filed only if the police are sure of the facts. If the police have hard evidence, then they should file charges but also make sure that it is taken to the logical conclusion before a court of law.
A charge of sedition for the sake of witch hunt or based on what the social media is saying or hear say can worsen the situation, officials familiar with the law say.