Institutional entity cannot be accused of sedition: Congress on Amnesty International India row

New Delhi: Questioning the sedition charges on Amnesty International India after anti-India slogans were allegedly raised during a debate on Kashmir, the Congress Party on Tuesday said that an institution cannot be accused of sedition.

“We have to look at the facts of the case. I can understand an FIR against an individual, who has tried to fan anti-India sentiment. But I doubt if any institution can be accused of sedition charges in these circumstances,” Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi told ANI.

“I do not have all the facts. I would imagine institutionally it would be wrong to accuse someone. An individual must have crossed all the limits of speech, I am not agreeing or disagreeing but certainly institutional entity in a blanket manner cannot be accused of sedition,” he added.

The Karnataka Police yesterday filed a case after anti-India slogans were allegedly raised during a debate on Kashmir organised by the human rights-focused NGO in Bengaluru on Saturday.

The debate had muddled after some people from Kashmir, most of them students, exchanged heated words with Kashmiri Pandit leader and former journalist RK Mattoo when he said, “The Army is present everywhere in the North-East, Kashmir and other sundry places. I can tell you proudly that the Indian Army is one of the most disciplined armies in the world.”

“Pro-freedom” Kashmiris at the debate exclaimed slogans and policemen posted for the event eventually managed to pacify the two groups.

On Sunday, activists of the ABVP staged a protest against the event, calling it ‘anti-national’ and filed a complaint with the police, also submitting a video recording.

Amnesty India said it had organised the event as part of a campaign to seek justice for “victims of human rights violations” in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The police were invited and present at the event. The filing of a complaint, and the registration of a case of sedition, shows a lack of belief in fundamental rights and freedoms in India,” Amnesty India said in a statement.

It however said that “it considers the right to freedom of expression under international human rights law protects the right to calmly advocate political solutions that do not involve incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.”(ANI)