ABVP seeks arrest of Amnesty officials over anti-India slogans

Bengaluru, Aug 16 (IANS) About 200 ABVP activists protested here on Tuesday seeking the arrest of Amnesty India representatives for organising an event where anti-India slogans were allegedly raised.

As the activists marched towards the Police Commissioner’s office to submit a memo, police blocked them at Raj Bhavan.

When the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists refused to disperse, police caned them and took about 30 of them into preventive custody.

“Registering an FIR and filing a case of sedition and rioting against the organisation (Amnesty) is an eyewash as they (police) are trying to hush up the issue. We want the organisers and those who raised anti-India slogans to be arrested and jailed,” ABVP city convener Prem told the media.

“Police not only gave the organisation permission to hold the event but also did not act against the anti-national elements though they were present at the event when the slogans were raised,” Prem said.

Police booked a sedition case against Amnesty India on Monday night for the anti-India slogans allegedly raised at the event it organised here on August 13.

“We have booked a case of sedition and rioting under various sections of the Indian Penal Code against Amnesty on a complaint that anti-India slogans were raised,” Deputy Police Commissioner T.R. Suresh told IANS on Tuesday.

The charges, including sedition, rioting, unlawful assembly and promoting enmity were mentioned in the FIR police filed two days after the ABVP lodged the complaint with audio-video evidence.

The activists also protested against Amnesty on Sunday at United Theological College in the city centre where the event was held.

“We are investigating the complaint and checking the video to ascertain the charges and identify those who raised the slogans for culpability,” Suresh said.

The sedition charge under section 124A of the IPC amounts to an attempt to cause hatred or contempt or excite disaffection towards the government of India.

The 90-minute event was held, ostensibly, to interact with a few Kashmiri families who were victims of human rights violations in the state.

The FIR has not named any individual but implicated Amensty India for holding the event and allegedly allowing slogans to be raised against the country and the Indian Army.

Claiming they were yet to receive a copy of the FIR from police, Amnesty executive director Aakar Patel regretted that holding an event to defend constitutional values was being branded ‘anti-national’.

“As police were informed about the event in advance, they were present at the venue. Registering a case of sedition on a complaint against us shows a lack of belief in fundamental rights and freedom in the country,” Patel said in a statement here.

Admitting that some persons at the event raised slogans, some of which referred to calls for ‘azaadi’ (freedom), Amnesty India programmes director Tara Rao on Sunday said it was important that the conduct of some should not distract attention from the denial of truth and justice to those who have suffered in Jammu and Kashmir.



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