An FIR was filed against Amnesty International India on Monday for allegedly raising "independence" slogans at an event organised at the United Theological College in Bengaluru. Investigation on the same is underway.
The complaint was filed at the JC Nagar Police Station by activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), who had also protested against the event calling it "anti-national". They have submitted a CD containing the video recording of the event along with the complaint to the police.
A panel discussion, which was held on Saturday, turned chaotic after some "pro-freedom" Kashmiris, comprising mostly youngsters and students, got into a heated argument with a Kashmiri Pandit leader for praising the Indian Army, according to local media reports.
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), a police official was quoted by the Press Trust of India (PTI) as saying.
The ABVP activists took to the streets to protest against the organisation on Tuesday as well.
Bengaluru (Karnataka): ABVP protest against amnesty Int'l, police lathi-charge protesters. pic.twitter.com/nhyus95dgT
— ANI (@ANI_news) August 16, 2016
Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara has said that the matter will be looked into more seriously and that an investigation is underway, ANI reported.
Responding to reports, Amnesty International India said in a statement that it still hasn't received a copy of the FIR and that the event was organised "as part of a campaign to seek justice for victims of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir." The Bengaluru police had been informed about the event well in advance.
"Merely organizing an event to defend constitutional values is now being branded 'anti-India' and criminalized... 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." said Aakar Patel, executive director, Amnesty International India.
Representatives of the Kashmiri Pandit community were also invited to talk about the human rights violations faced by them. The statement also said that a few people who attended the event raised slogans at the end. Some of those slogans were calls for "azaadi" (freedom).
The organisation also stated that "as a matter of policy does not take any position in favour of or against demands for self-determination" but "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."