BJP sees larger threat in anti-India slogans at Bengaluru event on Kashmir

The alleged anti-India sloganeering at a panel discussion here on Saturday is threatening to flare up into a national controversy with BJP seeing it as a continuation of the narrative that was witnessed in February at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

Published: 15th August 2016 04:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th August 2016 08:58 PM   |  A+A-

Kashmir

BENGALURU: The alleged anti-India sloganeering at a panel discussion here on Saturday is threatening to flare up into a national controversy with BJP seeing it as a continuation of the narrative that was witnessed in February at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

The event saw tempers rise as some “pro-freedom” Kashmiris, most of them youngsters, entered into arguments with a Kashmiri Pandit leader for hailing the Indian Army. The event was organised by Amnesty International India at The United Theological College.

BJP.jpgWhile Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists staged a protest in front of The United Theological College on Sunday demanding the arrest of those who had organized the programme and against those who raised anti-India slogans, the BJP has demanded that the Union government take up the issue with the state to ensure stringent action against those who indulged in anti-India activities and also investigate Amnesty’s role in organising such a seminar.

BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa in a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “Some of the youths in the gathering shouted anti-India and anti-Indian Army slogans...It was almost a repeat performance of what happened in Jawaharlal Nehru University a few months back.”

Stating that the event was part of a campaign to seek justice for “victims of human rights violations” in Jammu and Kashmir, Amnesty International India in a statement said towards the end of the event, some raised slogans calling for ‘Azaadi’ (freedom).

DCP North Bengaluru T R Suresh said, “We have received a complaint (from ABVP), we have been given a CD. We will look into it and take action in accordance with law.”  more: p6

Activists of Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) on Sunday staged a protest in front of The United Theological College on Miller’s Road against people who allegedly raised slogans against the Indian Army at an event organised in the city on Saturday.

The ABVP activists also blackened the college boards and tried to block the road demanding that the persons who organised the programme and those who raised the slogans be arrested. As the situation at the college premises turned tense, police took 30 ABVP members into custody.

The event ‘Broken Families -- Journey For  Justice’, an interaction programme with people from Kashmir, was organised by Amnesty International India at the college  on Saturday evening. Some participants at the event allegedly raised slogans like “Jaan se lenge azadi, zor se lenge azadi”.

Basavaraj, office secretary, ABVP, said,  “We have filed a complaint with J C Nagar police, who are yet to register it. As it was a interaction programme, two members from ABVP were also present at the venue. The slogans were raised after a speaker started it. There were a few Kashmiris, including Kashmiri Pandits, an ex-serviceman and a few speakers, who wanted to speak for the Indian Army, but were interrupted. Then, the slogans against the Indian Army were raised.”

Police sources said, “We had given permission for the programme. A few Kashmiri Pandits had also attended the event. When we analysed the visuals, we saw there were no chants against the Indian Army. The programme was interrupted when a speaker said that the Indian Army was one of the most disciplined forces in the world and a few objected to this, saying the Army was involved in gross violation of human rights.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) T R Suresh, who is probing the incident, said, “Penal action will be initiated only after verifying the complaints and the video footage provided. An FIR will be registered only if we find any evidence.”

Amnesty International statement

In a statement to the press, Amnesty International India said, “The event, which was conducted on the premises of the United Theological College, involved discussions with families from Kashmir —  featured in Amnesty International India’s report,  ‘Denied: Failures in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’, who had travelled to Bengaluru to narrate their personal stories of grief and loss. Amnesty International India also invited representation from the Kashmiri Pandit community in Bengaluru to speak about the human rights violations faced by members of the community.

“Towards the end of the event, some of those who attended raised slogans, some of which referred to calls for ‘Azadi’ (freedom).”

“It is important that media attention to the conduct of some of those who attended the event not serve as a distraction from the important issues of the denial of truth and justice to those who have suffered in Jammu and Kashmir,” said Tara Rao, Programmes Director, Amnesty International India.

“Amnesty International India, as a matter of policy, does not take any position in favour of or against demands for self-determination. However, Amnesty International India 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,” the release said.

MP visits protest site

Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha visited the protest site and demanded the arrest of the organisers and people who chanted slogans against the Indian Army. There are a few persons with vested interests that are fuelling fire in universities to harm the unity of the country, Simha said.

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