More than 100 members of a right-wing student organization attempted to storm Amnesty International’s office in Bangalore, on Friday. The protesters from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), who tried to storm the building with petrol bottles, were caned by police and detained.
On Friday morning, Bengaluru police had barricaded road leading to the Amnesty International’s office anticipating protests. However, the protesters broke through the barricades and reached the gates of the office building around 11am.
According to Times of India, initially, they sat on the road shouting slogans, however, demanded to be allowed inside, later. When the request was rejected, they turned violent and started barging towards the building. Two of the protesters were seen carrying bottles of petrol.
Once the protest became violent, senior officers ordered baton charge. With protesters refusing to disperse, cops unleashed heavy caning, injuring several protesters. Even while police were trying to forcefully remove activists, some protesters were seen climbing on police vehicles and verbally abusing cops.
P Harishekaran, additional commissioner of police, east, told TOI: “Officers on the ground prevented greater damage by dispersing the protesters. The gathering was unauthorized and they tried to set fire to property in a residential area, we had no option but to charge.”
The protesters alleged that the police under the DCP’s leadership behaved in an “inhuman” way and more than 10 ABVP activists were injured in the lathicharge.
Calling their protest “peaceful”, ABVP National General Secretary Vinay Bidre said, “We demanded that police vacate Amnesty staff who were recording our protest from their office. We told police we won’t cause any harm to them. We did not try to barge into their premises and tried to burn Amnesty’s effigy, but police unnecessarily used force on us.”
As a precautionary step, police have asked Amnesty International India to keep its office in Bangalore closed until the ABVP protest subsides, following which the organisation had asked its employees to work from other locations.
On 13th August Amnesty International had organised an event as part of a campaign to seek justice for “victims of human rights violations” in Jammu and Kashmir, which ABVP activists tried to disrupt and alleged that anti-India slogans were raised in the event.
took an ugly turn with heated exchanges and alleged raising of pro-Kashmir ‘Independence’ and anti-Army slogans. ABVP activists had submitted a CD containing video recording of the event after filing a complaint with police, who have registered an FIR against Amnesty International, Seema Mustafa , a senior journalist who was moderating the event.
IPC sections 142 (Being member of an unlawful assembly), 143 (whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) have been invoked against the organisation.