Mysuru Bar Association announced that it will not represent the student, Nalini Balakumar, who is facing sedition charges for raising 'Free Kashmir' placard at a protest against the violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) held in University of Mysore (UoM) on January 8.
The bar has urged advocates not to represent Balakumar, "Our members submitted a requisition, requesting none of our lawyers should represent Nalini. We discussed and decided not to represent or provide legal services to her," President S Anand Kumar told on Wednesday, January 15.
Nalini Balakumar, a former student of University of Mysuru, was booked under IPC Sections 34 and 124 A (Sedition) by the Jayalakshmipuram police. She was spotted waving the Free Kashmir placard during a protest in Mysuru organised by Dalit Students' Association and Mysore University Research Students Association.
Bengaluru lawyers oppose resolution of Mysuru Bar Association
After the Mysuru bar association passed the resolution to not represent Nalini, lawyers from Bengaluru released a statement calling the resolution illegal and unconstitutional. According to the statement, "We strongly condemn the decision of the Mysuru Bar Association as not only being against professional ethics and the duties of lawyers under the Bar Council of India Rules but also as being antithetical to the values embedded in the Constitution of India."
'Raised placard over internet shutdown in Kashmir'
Out on bail granted on January 10, Balakumar also released a video apologising for 'creating confusion'. She said she raised the 'Free Kashmir' placard to bring awareness over internet shutdown in the Valley, and not to spread hatred. Since the abrogation of Article 370, August 5th, 2019 there has been internet shutdown in the Valley. Stating that she is not affiliated to any organisation, Balakumar said she would cooperate with the police.
Similar 'Free Kashmir' placard at Gateway protest
Images and videos of a Mumbai woman holding a poster with the words "Free Kashmir" went viral, Mehak Mirza Prabhu claimed it was "intended for peace in Jammu and Kashmir", and apologised for the misunderstanding it created.
Several videos of the Mumbai-based storyteller and performer holding up the "Free Kashmir" poster written in big bold letters at the Gateway of India protest have hone viral. The placard triggered outrage among BJP leaders and various right-wing groups and activists and netizens asked how can such "separatist elements" be tolerated in the city.
The placard was seen in Mehak's hand on Monday on January 6 evening during the protests in Mumbai to condemn the violence on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus two days ago, triggered a political controversy.