Police rule out quick arrests in sedition case against Amnesty

Police rule out quick arrests in sedition case against Amnesty

Cops cane ABVP protesters, thwart their march to commissioner's office

Police rule out quick arrests in sedition case against Amnesty
The Bengaluru police on Tuesday ruled out immediate arrest of Amnesty International India representatives over sedition for organising an event on human rights abuses in Kashmir.

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), however, intensified its protest over what it described as raising of “anti-India” slogans at the event held at the United Theological College (UTC) on August 13.

On Tuesday, the ABVP mobilised scores of college students in a march towards the Bengaluru police commissioner’s office, demanding the arrest of sloganeers as well as Amnesty International representatives.

Police asserted that they cannot arrest people “just based on a complaint”. “This is not a regular case where people can be arrested immediately,” Additional Commissioner of Police (West) K S R Charan Reddy told reporters.

The ABVP protest started around 11 am at RC College near Basaveshwara Circle in central Bengaluru. Protesters started marching towards Infantry Road to submit a memorandum to Police Commissioner N S Megharikh.

Just as they reached Raj Bhavan, police stopped them. But they continued to march and reached Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium. A team of 25 policemen headed by DCP (Central) Sandip Patil went after them and asked them to leave. But the protesters didn’t relent and some of them even climbed a police van. At this point, police mildly caned the protesters, detained 30 of them and took them to the jurisdictional High Grounds police station.

ABVP activists urged the police to let them go to the commissioner’s office or request him to meet them. Charan Reddy arrived at the spot. Speaking to reporters, he said the ABVP activists were detained as they were disturbing law and order and hindering traffic. They will be released in a short while, he added.

Reddy said the sedition case was being investigated by team headed by an Assistant Commissioner of Police. They are checking the video recording of ‘Broken Families’, the event on Kashmir.

‘Permission not required’
Asked if Amnesty International had taken permission to organise the event, Megharikh said, “Such events do not require permission. But we had sought details and informed the jurisdictional police station to keep a watch on the venue.”

Police maintained that the ABVP didn’t obtain permission for the protest and the march. But Sachin Rathod, organising secretary, ABVP, Bengaluru central, said, “We had informed the police that we would go to the commissioner’s office to submit a memorandum. Police caned our cadre. They didn’t even spare girls who have suffered injuries.” Rathod didn’t say whether police had given permission. He said the ABVP might complain to the human rights commission against the police.

The ABVP has planned a state-wide protest on Wednesday and said it would not intimate the police. “We will conduct the protest without giving police details of venue and timing as they will hamper our cause. We want Amnesty International India to be banned and verification of the UTC’s background,” said Prem S, member of the ABVP’s national council.

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