Closed Offices and Postponing of events at Amnesty International India aimed at raising awareness of rights abuses over safety concerns for its staff after the charity was accused of sedition by protesters.
Political activists held demonstrations against the rights group, accusing it of inciting revulsion against the state during an event it hosted on mistreatment by Indian security forces in the troubled Kashmir region. Police said “they were investigating if "anti-India" slogans were raised at the event after receiving a complaint from the right-wing student organisation, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, which has ties to the ruling Bharitya Janata Party”. Amnesty said the allegations against the organization were uncorroborated, but admitted that slogans calling for Kashmir's independence were chanted by some people.
"The allegations mentioned in the complaint are without any basis. The event was an open door event and people were coming and going. No staff members were involved," said Himanshi Matta, Amnesty International India's spokeswoman in India. “The seminar - aimed at raising awareness over the lack of justice for families of victims in Kashmir - was planned to take place in Mumbai and New Delhi next week, but has been postponed due to security concerns for the families and staff.” Matta added.
Rights groups have for years accused Indian forces battling a nationalist revolution in Kashmir and parts of northeast India of violating civilian rights through a controversial law which gives them sweeping powers to search, arrest or shoot people. Authorities and the armed forces deny the charges, saying “the law - the Armed Forces Special Powers Act - is essential to root out militants”
“Video footage of the event in Bangalore which was recorded by Amnesty has been handed over to the police, and is being studied by forensic investigators”, said a police official.
Almost 64 people - civilians and security forces - have been killed in last 40 days in violent street protests, and a strict curfew has been forced on residents.
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