Udayavni Special

Ladakh councillor arrested for ‘highly objectionable’ comments on India-China standoff


PTI, Jun 21, 2020, 9:42 AM IST

Leh: Acouncillor of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)-Kargil was arrested early on Saturday, June 20 after his “highly objectionable” audio clip mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Army in the wake of the recent face-off between India and China went viral on social media, officials said.

The action against Zakir Hussain, a councillor from Shakar constituency in Kargil district, followed registration of an FIR against him by police on Friday even as the councillor submitted a public apology over his remarks, the officials said.

Hussain, a long-time Congress activist, was expelled by the party on the issue, while both Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh and Kargil said the entire population of Ladakh has been patriotic and always fully behind the Army in protecting the country’s sovereignty.

Later, LAHDC-Kargil suspended him after his arrest.

In the clip, the councillor is heard using highly derogatory language against Modi and mocking the Army over the standoff with China in eastern Ladakh which left 20 soldiers including a colonel-rank officer dead.

Tendering his apology for hurting the sentiments of the people by his words, Hussain said, “As a Ladakhi and as an Indian, I have always been proud of my country and our people and I can assure that I will never do such a thing that would bring harm to the motherland.”

Accusing his friend of back-stabbing him, he said, “As a human being, all of us have private casual conversations between friends where we swear, abuse, and say all kinds of things without meaning them literally.”

“The councillor was arrested from a house in Kargil town during an early morning raid and is being questioned while efforts are on to get hold of his friend with whom he was heard holding the conversation over the phone,” a police official said.

A police spokesman said an FIR was registered against him after receiving reliable information that an audio clip was going viral, containing incriminating content, on various social media platforms.

“The conversation is between a sitting LAHDC-Kargil councillor with one of his known persons with content prejudicial to the regional or religious peace and tranquillity, spreading rumours and also seditious in nature,” the spokesman said.

After conducting a preliminary probe, he said Kargil police station registered the case following an inquiry under relevant provisions of the penal law.

Taking serious note of the conversation between Hussain and his friend, Ladakh Congress president Rigzin Jora expelled the councillor from the party without waiting for the reply of the show-cause notice served to him by the Kargil district unit of the party two days ago.

Condemning the telephonic conversation between Hussain and his friend, LAHDC-Kargil said, “People of Kargil have a long history of standing behind to defend the nation and stand with the Indian Army during toughest of times. We reiterate our unflinching loyalty to our nation”.

“The content of the conversation is highly objectionable and condemnable. LAHDC-Kargil deplores the content of this conversation in the strongest possible terms and also disassociates itself from it,” a statement issued by the office of the chairman and chief executive councillor LAHDC-Kargil said.

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