Police stated on Wednesday that an Indian school principal and two others have been charged with sedition for printing an ‘incorrect’ map of disputed Kashmir, an offense which punishable by a maximum of life in jail.
Following a complaint by a right-wing Hindu activist, who spotted the map in a school diary, the principal plus the school’s owner and a printing press owner were arrested on Monday.
According to the police, hundreds of diaries were printed by te Green Bells Public School in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, highlighting parts of Kashmir within the borders of Pakistan and China.
Tight restrictions have been placed on all printed maps by New Delhi, demanding that they show all of Kashmir as being within Indian borders.
Satish Dwivedi, a senior police officer in Shahdol district, where the men were arrested, told AFP that “All of them have been charged with sedition and acting against the national interest.”
The officer asserted that the accused were denied bail by a court on Tuesday and that they claimed that the map had been printed by mistake.
They could be jailed for life under India’s controversial sedition law if found guilty and convicted.
Maps are a major gray area in India, which has long-running border disputes with a few of its neighbors, most especially over Jammu and Kashmir.
Recently, India announced plans for new legislation that will stipulate a $15 million fine and seven-year jail term for those seen to be publishing incorrect maps.
In 2011, the government ordered The Economist magazine to cover up a map of disputed borders in Kashmir with white stickers over a diagram in numerous copies on sale in India.
The television channel, Al Jazeera, were taken off the air for five days last year after it broadcast what India deemed as an “erroneous map” of the region.