Cheering Pakistan Team May Be Ethically Wrong but No A Crime: Nafeesa’s Lawyer

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Nafeesa Attari

Udaipur teacher’s arrest under Section 153 B is ‘violation of Supreme Court direction’

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Udaipur Lawyer Rajesh G, who is representing Nafeesa Attari in a case filed against her for supporting Pakistan in a cricket match, said that the arrest of Nafeesa by the police has violated the directions and mandatory provisions laid down by the Supreme Court.

Nafeesa, a teacher at Neerja Modi School, has been booked under IPC Section 153 B after she updated a status on her WhatsApp account cheering Pakistan team for winning a T20 match. She was arrested and later granted bail.

“Under IPC Section 153 B, there is a provision of 3-year imprisonment. In 2014, the Supreme Court said that the police will not directly make an arrest when the charges were invoked under IPC sections where imprisonment is less than seven years. It can only issue notice to the accused. If the police feel that the arrest is necessary, they should take permission from a higher officer. In this case, the police did not follow mandatory provision and Supreme Court directions and made the arrest under the pressure,” said Rajesh talking to Clarion India over the phone on Thursday.

Hence, the court granted bail immediately even though a group of lawyers who believe in Hindutva ideology were opposing the bail plea. The issue was raised by Hindutva activists in Udaipur. One of them, Rajendra, filed a complaint at AmbaMata police station. Local media also hyped the issue, he said.

Before the arrest, Nafeesa was expelled from her teaching job at Neerja Modi school in Udaipur. Her WhatsApp post and school’s expulsion order has been shared on social media.

In a video statement, Nafeesa clarified that her post was with regard to the competition among her family members who divided two teams to support them for the matches.

“Someone messaged me and asked whether ‘you support Pakistan’. As the message had emojis and it was an environment of fun, I replied ‘Yes’. But it doesn’t mean anywhere that I support Pakistan. I am an Indian and I love India. I love India as much as everyone else does,” Nafeesa said in her video message.

She also apologized for her post. “As soon as I realized that I had made a mistake, I deleted the status message. I am sorry if I have hurt anybody’s sentiments,” she said.

Rajesh told Clarion India that supporting any country in a cricket match does not make it a legal offence. One can view it ethically wrong. One can feel bad about it but it cannot be a crime. The case has been filed for political reasons. “It can be a mistake and one can disagree with her but a case is not filed on this basis,” he said.

The family is undergoing immense harassment. Everyone started looking at them with suspicious eyes. They are refusing to talk to the media. Nafeesa is undergoing mental agony, said Rajesh.

“If the family gets ready, we would go to the High Court and quash the FIR,” he said.

Yaqoob, a political activist in Udaipur, blamed the right-wing for making it an issue. “If there is so much intolerance with Pakistan, then why do you play cricket with her. Stop such matches. Why don’t you view a game with the feeling of a game. You are throwing people into insanity through such games,” said Yagoob, who is associated with the Communist Party of India (CPI).

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Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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