Bengaluru, Aug 16 (IANS) Massive protests by ABVP activists against Amnesty International India spread to other cities in Karnataka on Tuesday demanding the arrest of its representatives for organising an event here where anti-India slogans were allegedly raised.
“We have intensified our protests in Bengaluru, Tumakuru, Hubballi and Belagavi. Rallies will be taken out in more cities tomorrow till the culprits are arrested and punished,” ABVP city convener Prem told the media.
In Bengaluru, police blocked the activists from marching towards the Police Commissioner’s office to submit a memo.
When the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad activists refused to disperse, police caned them and took about 30 of them into preventive custody.
“We want the organisers and those who raised anti-India slogans to be arrested and jailed,” Prem said, adding, the FIR registered in the case was not enough.
“Police not only gave Amnesty 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,” he said.
At Tumakuru, about 70 km from here, at least 200 ABVP activists staged a protest against the anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans allegedly raised by some students of the Sri Siddhartha Institute of Technology.
Home Minister G. Parameshwara’s family runs the institute.
“An FIR has been registered against some students who raised the slogans and police are investigating,” Parameshwara told reporters in Bengaluru.
Similar protests took place at Hubballi, about 400 km from here, and Belagavi, some 500 km from here, condemning the Amensty.
Bengaluru police filed a sedition case against Amnesty India on Monday night for the slogans allegedly raised at the event it organised on August 13.
“We have filed a case of sedition and rioting against Amnesty on a complaint that anti-India slogans were raised,” Deputy Police Commissioner T.R. Suresh told IANS on Tuesday.
The ABVP activists also protested against Amnesty on Sunday at the United Theological College in the city centre where the event was held.
“We are 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.
Admitting that some persons raised slogans, some of which referred to calls for ‘azaadi’ (freedom), Amnesty India programmes director Tara Rao said it was important that the conduct of some must not distract attention from the denial of justice to those who have suffered in Kashmir.
Refuting the ABVP’s allegations, Amnesty’s India chapter said none of its members shouted anti-India slogans.
“The allegations are without substance. They (ABVP) are preventing the families of victims of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir from having their stories heard,” Amnesty said in a fresh statement.
Asserting that the organisation was independent of any political, economic or ideological interests, Amnesty said the event was held as part of a campaign based on a report on alleged rights abuses by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
The report was based on in-depth research, including interviews with family members of victims, RTI applications, examination of police and court records and interviews with civil society groups, lawyers and government officials.
“The families of three Kashmiri victims interviewed for the report were invited to share their stories at the event,” Amnesty said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said: “An FIR has been registered on sedition charge. Action will be taken according to the law.”