Amnesty India faces sedition charges in Bengaluru over slogans raised at event on Kashmir unrest - Firstpost
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Amnesty India faces sedition charges in Bengaluru over slogans raised at event on Kashmir unrest


A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against Amnesty International India under various IPC sections, including sedition, in connection with the alleged raising of "independence" slogans by "pro-freedom" Kashmiris who had entered into heated arguments with a Kashmiri Pandit leader for hailing Indian Army at an Amnesty India International event in Bengaluru on Monday.

Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara on Tuesday said the "intention and background" of those involved would be investigated, as reported by NDTV.

Clashes between protesting ABVP workers and the Bengaluru police outside the Governer's house on Tuesday were reported by CNN News18.  ABVP activists, had called the Amnesty event "anti-national", and on Monday had filed a complaint with the police along with a CD containing video recording of the event.

A police official involved in the investigation said that an FIR has been registered and investigations will proceed.

The FIR has been registered under IPC sections — 142 (being member of an unlawful assembly), 143 (whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), he said.

A file image of Kashmiris protesting against use of brute force by security forces in Srinagar. PTI

A file image of Kashmiris protesting against use of brute force by security forces in Srinagar. PTI

A panel discussion on Saturday had turned chaotic as some "pro-freedom" Kashmiris, most of whom were youngsters and students, entered into heated arguments with a Kashmiri Pandit leader for hailing the Indian Army. The event was organised by Amnesty International India at United Theological College.

The incident has already triggered a major political backlash by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the Congress government in the state denied any anti-India sloganeering at the event itself, reports Livemint.

Holding that it had organised the event as part of a campaign to seek justice for "victims of human rights violations" in Jammu and Kashmir, Amnesty International India in a statement had said towards the end of the event, some of those who attended raised slogans, some of which referred to calls for 'azadi' (freedom).

Noting that as a matter of policy it does not take any position in favour of or against demands for self-determination, Amnesty had said it, however, considers that the right to freedom of expression under international human rights law protects the right to peacefully advocate political solutions that do not involve incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.

Amnesty International India, in a statement said "The event involved discussions with families from Kashmir, who were featured in a 2015 report, who had travelled to Bengaluru to narrate their personal stories of grief and loss."

Aakar Patel, executive director of Amnesty India International has said that all the required permissions were taken before the event was held.  He has also claimed that the charges made in the FIR were unclear, as reported by CNN News 18.

"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.

"Among those who spoke at the event were the family of Shahzad Ahmad Khan, one of the men killed in the Macchil extrajudicial execution, where five Army personnel were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment," it said in the statement.

The Bengaluru Police was informed about the event well in advance. Amnesty International India also invited representation from the Kashmiri Pandit community in Bengaluru at the event to speak about the "human rights violations" faced by members of the community, it said.

"Towards the end of the event, some of those who attended raised slogans, some of which referred to calls for 'azadi' (freedom)," the NGO said.

First Published On : Aug 16, 2016 07:52 IST

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