With a case of sedition being slapped against Amnesty International for raising pro-Kashmir freedom slogans at an event, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday said if the former has violated any Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), then it needs to be brought into the light. “Amnesty India needs to adhere to certain parameters of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). If the FCRA has been violated, this is the prerogative of the Home Ministry to bring it to the notice of public at large and if it has worked in accordance to law, it has absolutely nothing to worry about,” said BJP leader Shaina NC.
Under-fire over charges of sedition, the Amnesty International India on Thursday denied reports of shutting down their office and asserted that the charge of sedition against them was completely wrong, adding that they would continue to work for justice. Speaking to ANI here, executive director of Amnesty India International Aakar Patel said that the charge of sedition against them in the FIR by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) is totally wrong, adding that the information in the complaint has factual errors.
“We believe that the charge of sedition was applied in the FIR is totally wrong. There are many views including from people in civil society, in the government who believe that what we are saying is right. It was unfortunate for us that an issue that is serious and on which we had spent so many years, was then submerged by one aspect of this, which is the slogan shouting,” Patel said.
Stating that as a Constitutional democracy, it was incumbent upon them to deliver justice to the citizens, Patel added that since the issue has been brought to the fore, he hopes that the focus not comes to the ‘justice’ part of the issue. The police on Monday filed cases, including one of sedition, against the organisers of a programme that sought to project the human suffering of the Kashmir conflict. The police on Saturday charged Amnesty International India under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, which defines sedition as brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government of India.
Unnamed representatives of the non-government organisation were also booked under Sections 142,143, 147, 149 (unlawful assembly and rioting) and Section 153 A (promoting enmity between groups). Reacting to the FIR filed by ABVP, Amnesty International India in a statement said the allegations mentioned in the complaint are without substance, adding it is an attempt to prevent the families of victims of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir from having their stories heard. Earlier, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan’s NGO Common Cause moved the Supreme Court challenging the “misuse and misapplication” of sedition laws in the country.
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Bhushan says that the sedition law is rampantly abused to instil fear, causing persecution of students, journalists, intellectuals engaging in social activism. The PIL also says that sedition laws are used as a tool to scuttle dissent and actions which do not involve violence or tendency to create public disorder do not constitute the offence of sedition.