Days after sedition charge was slapped on Amnesty International India, Bengaluru Police Commissioner N.S. Megharikh on Tuesday night claimed that ‘Azadi’ (freedom) slogans were raised at a cultural programme organised by Amnesty International India in Bengaluru against alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Towards the end of the programme, a group of persons from the audience raised slogans seeking ‘Azadi’. When the situation got volatile, the organisers suspended the programme and the police dispersed the people gathered there,” reads a statement.
Clarifying that police permission was neither sought nor given as the event was an indoor function at United Theological College in the city on August 13, Megharikh said policemen were, however, deployed as the programme was brought to the notice of the local police station.
“During the function, it appears that some argument took place among the members of the audience regarding the action taken by the Indian Army in Kashmir,” the police chief pointed out.
Amnesty organised the programme — ‘Broken Families’ — which had an interactive discussion on peace and justice in Kashmir and where three families from the strife-torn Valley shared human rights violations they faced with the rest of India.
“During the course of investigation, all possible evidence, including video footage will be collected, examined and appropriate legal action will be taken against the perpetrators of the alleged offence,” Megharikh asserted.
The event is supposed to be part of a three-city tour of select families, covering Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi.
The police chief also noted that Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s (ABVP) organising secretary Jayaprakash had given a complaint, alleging that Amnesty representatives and other participants had indulged in anti-national slogans and criticised the role of Indian Army.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) affiliated student wing also submitted with the complaint a video footage of the function, showing some of the participants raising ‘Azadi’ slogans loudly a couple of times in unison.
“The complainant demanded legal action against such persons. After obtaining legal opinion, an FIR was registered on the complaint on August 15 under various sections of the IPC (Indian Penal Code),” Megharikh added.
The case has been entrusted to the assistant commissioner of police in the J.C. Nagar sub-division, as charges of sedition, rioting, unlawful assembly and promoting enmity were mentioned in the FIR.