Bengaluru police book Amnesty International for 'sedition'

INDIA-KASHMIR-PAKISTAN-UNREST (File) Protesters hold placards during an agitation against use of pellet guns by the Indian Amry as one of the crowd controlling mechanisms in Kashmir

Police lathicharged ABVP volunteers who were protesting in front of Karnataka's Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru on Tuesday afternoon. The volunteers were demanding immediate ban on Amnesty International for allegedly chanting antinational slogans.

Senior police officers clarified that the event organised by AI had their permission, but towards the end of the programme "some people were involved in unlawful activities". Action will be initiated once the probe is complete, assured a senior officer at the spot.

Meanwhile, a group of ex-servicemen submitted a plea to the police seeking transfer of the anti-India sloganeering incident to NIA. The protest spread to Hubballi, too, as students blocked Sangolli Rayanna circle, causing a huge traffic jam.

Police on Monday booked sedition charges against Amnesty International's Bengaluru unit after a few people allegedly raised anti-India slogans in a panel discussion organised by the NGO.

Senior police officers said that FIR against Amnesty International and others, had been filed under Sections 124a (sedition), 153a (promoting enmity), 142 (unlawful assembly), 147 and (rioting).

They added that the decision on the sections was taken after a long discussion, where available evidences, including video footage were examined.

Reacting to the police action, Amnesty International India said it had not received a copy of the FIR.

"Merely organising an event to defend constitutional values is now being branded ‘anti-India’ and criminalised," said Aakar Patel, executive director, Amnesty International India.

"The police were invited and present at the event. The filing of a complaint against us now, and the registration of a case of sedition, shows a lack of belief in fundamental rights and freedoms in India. India’s archaic sedition law has been used to harass and persecute activists and others for their peaceful exercise of their right to free expression."

The multi-city event—Broken Families—held at United Theological College, JC Nagar, on Saturday, had invited three families from Kashmir to narrate alleged human rights violations and atrocities committed by the security forces.

While some spoke in support of the Indian Army, others accused it of violating human rights. The event took a controversial turn, after a few participants allegedly raised slogans demanding azaadi (freedom).

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