BJP, Sena in war of words over 'Free Kashmir' banner

Last Updated 07 January 2020, 09:20 IST

A 'Free Kashmir' banner during the protests at the Gateway of India in Mumbai on Monday has sparked off a controversy. On Wednesday, the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi and the opposition BJP seem to have traded charges on this issue.

Meanwhile, the girl, Mehak Mirza Prabhu, has come out with a statement and a detailed clarification. Mehak said that the way the entire social media showed the incident was as an absolute shock to her.

"Placard means freedom to express themselves, freedom from the internet lockdown which many people have been voicing for. I was voicing my solidarity for the basic constitutional right. There was no other agenda or motive whatsoever. I was naive in understanding the impact it would have, and in the process created this stir. I apologise. I am an artist who believes in basic human compassion. Please let us spread the power of love and overcome hate," said Mahek, who is a storyteller.

The Mumbai Police has taken a cognizance over the issue. "We have taken serious cognizance of the 'Free Kashmir' poster seen in the protest last night at Gateway of India. Yes, we are definitely investigating it," Deputy Commissioner of Police Sangramsingh Nishandar said.

Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis lashed out at the Uddhav Thackeray-led government for tolerating such posters. "Protest is for what exactly? Why slogans of “Free Kashmir”? How can we tolerate such separatist elements in Mumbai? ‘Free Kashmir’ slogans by Azadi gang, 2km away from CMO? Uddhav ji are you going to tolerate this 'Free Kashmir' Anti-India campaign right under your nose???," tweeted Fadnavis, a two-time former chief minister.

Responding to this, Water Resources and Command Area Development Minister and state NCP President Jayant Patil tweeted: "Devendra ji, it’s 'free Kashmir' from all discriminations, bans on cellular networks and central control. I can't believe that responsible leader like you trying to confuse people by decoding words in such a hatred way. Is it losing power or losing self-control? ".

Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said: "The Shiv Sena would not tolerate anyone talking about the freedom of Kashmir. The poster had been misunderstood. I read in a newspaper that those who held 'Free Kashmir' banner clarified that they want Kashmir to be free of restrictions on internet services, mobile services and other issues."

(Published 07 January 2020, 09:20 IST)

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