BENGALURU: Student members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), who took out a protest rally in the city against Amnesty International India, were lathicharged by Bengaluru police on Tuesday. Some were also taken into preventive custody. The police action came under attack from the opposition BJP, which is launching a statewide agitation seeking action against the rights group. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, however, defended the police action saying it was done to maintain law and order.
Meanwhile Amnesty has condemned the slapping of sedition charges against it over Saturday’s Kashmir event, where anti-national and ant-Indian army slogans were allegedly raised. Refuting ABVP’s allegations, it said none of its employees had raised slogans.
The incident, which has snowballed into a controversy, saw hundreds of ABVP members take out a rally from RC College at Chalukya Circle to Police Commissioner’s office on Infantry Road. When the rally reached Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium near Raj Bhavan, police tried to stop the protesters. This led to arguments and finally, DCP (Central) Sandeep Patil himself led the lathicharge against the protesters. Some students were detained while the rest were sent to Gandhi Statue at Anand Rao Circle, where they continued their protest till late evening.
Meanwhile, protesters alleged that girl students were manhandled by male police personnel. The police were also accused of breaking mobile phones of protesters. “They were snatching our phones and throwing them on roads. When we questioned, they dragged and pushed us to the police van,” said a student.
BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa said, “Students have the right to protest against anti-national incidents. They were protesting peacefully near Raj Bhavan. What was the need for lathicharge?’’ He demanded an apology from the state government.