No arrests till probe is over, AICC advises Siddaramaiah

No arrests till probe is over, AICC advises Siddaramaiah

No arrests till probe is over, AICC advises Siddaramaiah

On the defensive over the Bengaluru Police slapping sedition charges on Amnesty International India, the Congress high command on Wednesday advised Chief Minister Siddaramaiah against making any arrests till the investigation is completed.

All India Congress Committee general secretary Digvijaya Singh said, “I spoke to the chief minister of Karnataka and he has assured me that no arrests would be made pending investigation. Only an first information report (FIR) has been filed,” Singh said. Siddaramaiah had earlier said that nobody would be spared if they were found indulging in any anti-national activities.

The Congress leaders argued that raising slogans cannot be the grounds for invoking sedition charges. They said sedition charges can be slapped on an individual and not an entire institution.

“An FIR does not mean that a crime has been established. There is no charge sheet, no closure,” senior advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

Singhvi said the Government of Karnataka had not accepted the sedition charges made in the FIR filed on the basis of a complaint made by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists in Bengaluru.

“Simply raising slogans is not a fit case to be charged with sedition,” Singh said, adding that the law was used by the British against freedom fighters.

The Congress had strongly protested the slapping of sedition charges against Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president Kanaihya Kumar in February with party vice president Rahul Gandhi visiting the varsity campus to express his solidarity with the students.

‘Nothing seditious’

The Bengaluru police investigating the case said the sedition charges may not hold water.

A senior police officer, on the condition of anonymity, said, “Prima facie the case looks like there is nothing amounting to sedition. The video footage, which is being examined, does not show any statement amounting to sedition. We are expecting more videos. If the investigation proves that people are involved in an act of sedition, then they will be arrested and punished in accordance with the law. For now, nothing can be ruled out.”

The United Theological College, where the event took place, has filed a case against ABVP members for vandalising the college property on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International India has indefinitely postponed its events related to the “Journey for Justice” campaign scheduled in Mumbai and Delhi for August 20 and August 26, respectively, “due to concerns over the security of families,” a statement released by the organisation said.

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