Amnesty India's 'Broken families of Kashmir': Is this what 'sedition' looks like?

Hundreds of people gathered for an Amnesty International India event called 'Broken Families of Kashmir' at the United Theological College on Monday. The organisation was later booked for sedition after Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists complained that the event was "anti-national".

The idea of the event, as Hari Adivarekar points out in his Facebook post, was to bring the rest of India face to face with some of the bereaved families to seek justice for victims of human rights violations in the volatile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Adivarekar also tweeted some of the pictures of the event.

Families who lost their loved ones also attended the event. His next picture captures the pain of Ali Mohammed Shah, who lost his son Altaf to alleged torture by the army in 2002.

A troupe of young Kashmiri men performed semi improvised street theatre during the event. Their mentor was deeply invested in the performance and was mouthing along.

RK Mattoo (President of the Bangalore Kashmiri Pandits Association) tried his best to remain unbiased and inclusive while speaking about how all Kashmiris, #Hindu and #Muslim have suffered in paradise, says Adivarekar in his post.

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered against Amnesty 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 the event.

ABVP has on Monday had filed a complaint with the police along with a CD containing video recording of the event, as a Firstpost article mentioned before.

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).

Amnesty International India, in a statement had 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."

"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," Aakar Patel, executive director of Amnesty India International said.

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Updated Date: Aug 16, 2016 17:10:47 IST

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