Ghulam Nabi Azad, Saifuddin Soz accused of sedition following 'remarks against Indian Army'; petitioner cites 22 June interview

An advocate has accused Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Saifuddun Soz with sedition for their "statements against Indian Army", reports have said. A complaint in this regard has been filed in a Delhi court.

The plea filed by lawyer Shashi Bhushan has sought action against Azad for offences under Sections 124 (sedition), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 505 (1) (spreading rumour about army/navy/air force official which is likely to cause mutiny) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), claiming that the alleged remarks were painting the army as killers of innocents which was "nothing less than waging war against the country".

The matter has been listed for hearing on Saturday before a magisterial court in New Delhi, PTI reported.

 Ghulam Nabi Azad, Saifuddin Soz accused of sedition following remarks against Indian Army; petitioner cites 22 June interview

File image of Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Saifuddin Soz.

Bhushan in his complaint has alleged that Azad, in a TV interview which aired on 22 June, had said that the "Indian Army in Jammu and Kashmir is killing more civilians than terrorists during military operations in the state."

The complaint also accused the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister of spreading hatred and trying to malign the country's image.

Both leaders had come under heavy fire following their comments regarding Jammu and Kashmir.

Former Union minister in the UPA-I government, Soz, had argued in his book Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle that Kashmiris did not want to merge with Pakistan and their first choice was independence.

"Musharraf had explained that if Kashmiris were given a chance to exercise their free will, they would prefer to be independent. In fact, this assessment of Musharraf seems to be correct even today," according to an excerpt from the book. Soz also argued that the central government should first open a dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference before moving to mainstream parties to find a solution to the Kashmir issue.

The Congress received a major backlash over the statements with the BJP comparing the party to Lashkar-e-Taiba. In a press conference held on 22 June, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad called Azad's comments "embarrassing, unfortunate and irresponsible" and said it was an attempt to break the morale of the army. While the Congress defended Azad's remarks, it distanced itself from Soz's comments and called it a "cheap tactic to sell his book".

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Jun 29, 2018 14:10:14 IST