No ulterior motive behind 'Free Kashmir' poster: Woman to cops

(Eds: Adds details) Mumbai, Jan 8 (PTI) The woman booked for displaying a 'Free Kashmir' placard during a protest against the JNU violence here has told the police she had no ulterior motive and had picked up the controversial banner which was lying on the ground, an official said on Wednesday.

Police on Wednesday recorded the statement of the woman, Mehak Mirza Prabhu, who held aloft the 'Free Kashmir' placard during the anti-JNU violence protest at the Gateway of India on Monday, he said.

Though she had later apologised for her act, the Colaba police on Tuesday booked her under IPC section 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration).

Prabhu, who is a poet and a script writer, was called to the Colaba Police Station, where her statement was recorded by a woman police officer in front of Sangramsinh Nishandar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone I), the official said.

Prabhu, who was accompanied by her lawyer, was allowed to go after her statement was recorded in the evening, he said.

The proceeding was partly video recorded, the official said, adding the placards, banners and posters used during the protest, were also brought to the police station.

Prabhu, however, did not speak to the waiting media.

The 34-year-old woman's actual name is Tejal Prabhu, who has adopted 'Mirza' as her pen-name as she admires legendary Urdu and Persian poet Mirza Ghalib, he said.

She also has good knowledge of Urdu, the official said.

Prabhu had sympathy with the JNU students attacked by goons on Sunday night and this led her to join the protest at the Gateway of India that lasted for 34 hours, he said.

During the questioning she told the police there was no other motive behind her action of picking up the placard of 'Free Kashmir' lying on the ground and displaying it, he said.

Prabhu told the police about the communication curbs in Kashmir since early August and said people in the erstwhile state were not able to express themselves, the official said.

'Kashmiris should be treated like us, they should also get basic rights which we are getting. They should also have freedom to express themselves. Keeping these things in mind, she picked up the placard,' she told the police, according to the official.

After picking up the placard she spoke to some people about it. Sometime later a few people came towards her and asked to raise the placard higher, the official said.

'During screening of her social media profiles, we did not find anything objectionable against her and also did not find her connection with any organisation,' he said.

The statement-recording process lasted for more than three hours, he said.

The placards, banners and posters used during the Gateway of India protest were also brought to the police station, the official said. PTI DC NP RSY RSY

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