Amnesty International India booked for sedition

A recent panel discussion turned chaotic as some 'pro-freedom' Kashmiris entered into heated arguments with a Kashmiri Pandit leader for hailing Indian army. In photo: Kashmiri people took out an 'anti-India' protest rally in Srinagar. Photograph:( Getty )

PTI Bengaluru, Karnataka, India Aug 16, 2016, 04.43 AM (IST)
A first information report (FIR) was today registered against Amnesty International India under various Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections, including sedition, in connection with the alleged raising of "independence" slogans by "pro-freedom" Kashmiris who entered into heated arguments with a Kashmiri Pandit leader when the latter hailed the Indian Army.

A police official involved in the investigation said that the FIR has been registered and investigations will proceed.

The FIR has been registered under the following IPC sections: 142 (being member of an unlawful assembly), 143 (whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 124A (sedition) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), he said. 

A panel discussion on Saturday had turned chaotic as some "pro-freedom" Kashmiris, most of whom were youngsters and students, entered into heated arguments with a leader from the Kashmiri Pandit community. 

The event was organised by Amnesty International of India at United Theological College in Bengaluru. The home minister of southern Karnataka, G Parameshwara, commented yesterday that the intention and background of those involved will be investigated. 

Activists from  Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) student group, backed by India's ruling Bharatiya Janta Party, staged a protest yesterday against the event calling it "anti-national". They also filed a complaint with the police along with a CD containing video recording of the event. 

Amnesty International India emphasised, it had organised the event as part of a campaign to seek justice for "victims of human rights violations" in Jammu and Kashmir. In a statement the organisation admitted that towards the end of the event, some of those who attended the programme did raise slogans, some of which referred to calls for 'azadi' (freedom).

Amnesty noted that as a matter of policy, it does not take any position in favour of or against the demands for self-determination. However, it does believe that under international human rights law, the right to freedom of expression does protect the right to peacefully advocate political solutions, without involving incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.