Langate MLA Sheikh Abdul Rasheed was detained today for taking out a protest march in "solidarity" with Kashmiri students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) who were booked on sedition charges.
Three Kashmiri students of the university were charged on Friday for sedition for allegedly raising "anti-India" slogans and trying to hold a prayer meeting for Hizbul Mujahideen commander Manan Bashir Wani, who was killed in an encounter in north Kashmir on Thursday.
Mr Rasheed, the MLA from north Kashmir's Langate constituency, along with supporters of his Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) took out a protest march from his official residence at Jawahar Nagar area towards Lal Chowk city centre, a party spokesman said.
He said the protestors were shouting slogans in favour of the students of the AMU "who are being harassed constantly for offering in absentia funeral prayers of Hizb commander Manan Wani".
The spokesman said as the march reached near the Zero Bridge in the Rajbagh area, policemen stopped the protestors and took the AIP chief into custody.
Talking to reporters before the march, Mr Rasheed said offering funeral prayers for anyone, including Manan Bashir Wani, was not a crime "but a fundamental religious obligation".
"The AMU administration has filed charges of sedition against Kashmiri students only under pressure from local BJP leaders just to polarise the issue and gain electoral dividends.
"Whatsoever is being attributed to the students is absolutely false and baseless. The AMU is a prestigious institution and the only aim to drag the university into controversies is to interfere in the affairs of the varsity and abolish its Muslim dominated character," he alleged.
The MLA said Kashmiri students "are being targeted only for the reason that they are Kashmiris and being a Kashmiri has become a crime in India".
"Every Kashmiri stands with the students who are being subjected to mental torture and harassment not only at the AMU but everywhere in India.
"We demanded withdrawal of FIR against the students and seek revocation of suspension orders of the students who have been accused of raising anti-India slogans," Mr Rasheed said.