BENGALURU: The city police who are investigating sedition charges made against Amnesty International said that prima facie it seems that no anti-national slogans were raised at the event organised by the non-government organization.
The officials, who saw the unedited video footage, said that towards the end of the event, one group at the event raised slogans ‘Azadi.. Azadi,’ but no anti-India or anti-army slogans were raised.
After getting the unedited video footage from the organizers, the investigating officials had sent it to a forensic laboratory.
The officials said, “In the video footage, there were three instances when people had verbal atleractions. However, though there were slogans with the words ‘Azadi’, they were not said in the context of the army or the country.”
The unedited video footage is now with the officials for further investigation. Additional Commissioner of Police (West) Charan Reddy said, “We have got the video footage. The investigation is under way. The participants have spoken in Kashmiri, Hindi, Urdu and English. However, we have sought help from language experts in this regard.”
A police officer said, “In the entire programme, there were three instances where participants had altercations. The first one happened when the programme’s anchor welcomed the Kashmiri Pandits who attended the programme and said that over 5,000 Kashmiri Pandit families were affected. Soon, the Kashmir Pandits objected and said over five lakh families were affected. The second altercation started when a displaced Kashmiri speaker, speaking in favour of the Pandits, said the Indian Army was a disciplined force and some of the participants objected.”
“The third instance was when Roshan Ilahi, a singer, who was scheduled to sing five songs, came on stage. Howver, as the permitted time for the programme (7 pm to 8.30 pm) was over, the local police asked the organizers to end the programme. Ilahi was asked to stop singing after his first song. By then, the Kashmiri Pandits were also coming out of the venue. As soon as the Pandits came out, they raised slogans, ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharath Mata Ki Jai’.” he added.
“At the same time, the participants inside the venue raised slogans. It is sure that the participants raised slogans such as ‘Jaan se Lenge Azadi, Jor Se Lenge Azadi and Cheen ke Lenge Azadi.’ As far as the footage that we have checked, there were no slogans raised against the nation in particular,” the officer said.
Police sources said, “There may have been an exchange of words when the Kashmiri Pandits came out of the venue. But that was not found in the footage.”
The problem the investigating officials faced was that the complainant, ABVP’s Jayapraksh was not present at the event. He had given the complaint based on the version of two ABVP members who had participated in the event.
In their statement, the two ABVP members told police that they were not able to understand their language (Kashmiri, fast spoken English and Urdu) but their body language and behaviour seemed that they were speaking something against the nation.
Police said, “According to the requisition the organizers had submitted, they had mentioned that three affected families of Kashmir of a specific community were scheduled to share their experience. However, later on Kashmiri Pandits also took part in the programme and spoke about their experience.”