Pankaj Bajpai

Srinagar, July 5, 2021: A Jammu and Kashmir Court has rejected the anticipatory bail plea of a person accused of spreading misinformation against COVID-19 vaccination and obstructing the vaccination drive at a government school in the Union Territory’s Kulgam district. 

Principal Sessions Judge Tahir Khurshid Raina observed that while the government is making painstaking efforts to ensure the safety of people against the deadly virus by carrying out vaccination drives, rumour mongers like the petitioner are acting as stumbling blocks in the government’s endeavour. 

In the instant case, the responsible officers of the level of Assistant Commissioner Revenue and Tehsildar were leading the vaccination drive which was blocked by the “detestable and illegal act” of the petitioner, the Judge said. 

It was alleged that when the revenue team along with the medical team reached the spot, the petitioner instigated and provoked local inhabitants against the team and halted the vaccination drive. The petitioner assembled a large crowd there against them, diverted the vaccination drive towards other unnecessary issues in order to restrain the general public from vaccination. 

On the basis of this report lodged by Tehsildar of Kulgam, an FIR was registered with Kulgam police station against the accused for commission of offences under sections 188, 269 and 353 of Indian Penal Code.

The court said a message should go to society that persons who spread rumours and obstruct COVID vaccination drives will be dealt with strictly under the law, and refused to grant further extension of interim anticipatory bail that was granted earlier. 

“The petitioner and their ilk are creating lot of fear psychosis and confusion among the general public about the vaccination. Such unsubstantiated and profane act of the petitioner is not only grossly illegal but amounts to pushing the life of the people in peril, who, if not get promptly vaccinated, may fall prey to the deadly virus,” opined the court. 

The court further said, “As rightly opined by WHO ‘but it’s not vaccines that will stop the pandemic, its vaccination’. It is further said ‘safe and effective vaccines are a game-changing tool; but for the foreseeable future we must continue wearing masks, cleaning our hands, ensuring good ventilation indoors, physically distancing and avoiding crowds.’”

Hence, the court directed the Investigating Officer to proceed in the matter in accordance with the law. 

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