Anti-India slogans: ABVP steps up protest in Karnataka

PTI8_19_2016_000096B Police stop ABVP activists who were trying to enter the Amnesty International India office during a protest against the NGO in Bengaluru | PTI

Is the Congress government in Karnataka dragging its feet in probing the alleged sedition charges against Amnesty International? A day after senior Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily and AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh openly criticised the Siddaramaiah government for booking sedition case against the NGO, the ABVP—student wing of the BJP—stepped up its protest demanding immediate arrest of the accused.

On Friday, several ABVP members including some women were injured in the melee after the police resorted to lathicharge as the protesters tried to storm into Amnesty International office in Bengaluru. The NGO staff have been working from home, as a precautionary measure.

Said Vinay Bidre, national general secretary, ABVP, "We condemn police action against the students during a peaceful protest. Why is the probe taking so long? We want them to act on our FIR. We will not withdraw the protest till action is taken against the NGO. We will picket the houses of all the ministers if the police do not arrest those named in the FIR."

Meanwhile, Amnesty International remains under scrutiny by the Centre which is tracking the foreign funding to the NGO. Amnesty is hoping to open its South Asian headquarters in India.

In Karnataka, the ruling Congress and the BJP are locking horns over the issue. State BJP president has condemned "police brutality" against students and warned the government of a statewide protest if the accused in the alleged sedition case are not arrested. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah warned the BJP against politicising the issue.

"ABVP is an affiliate of the BJP and is trying to politicise the issue. An FIR has been filed against Amnesty International and the probe is on. The video footage of the event has been sent for forensic examination. The accused will be arrested," said Home minister G. Parameshwar.

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