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‘Amulya was naive, but sedition too harsh charge’

Organisers snatched the mike from Amulya Leona Noronha before she could complete her speech at the anti-CAA ra…Read More

BENGALURU: Student-activists admit 19-year-old Amulya Leona Noronha’s chant at an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act rally on Thursday was “naïve and tactless” but said her actions did not warrant such a hard charge as sedition to be filed against her.

In a statement on social media platforms, activists labelled her ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ chant “callous, ill-intentioned and careless”. They also clarified Amulya is neither their spokesperson nor leader and they were unaware of the contents of her speech. They said her slogans discredited efforts of students and youth in maintaining peaceful dissent.

In another post, a student activist also questioned the organisers for washing their hands of Amulya, although she had a speaker’s badge and a VVIP entry tag. “It is clear that the generation that gave us this country will not protect us from its atrocities,” the statement read.

Samreen Banu, a student, said irrespective of what Amulya’s intention was, she should have been sensitive to sentiments of people. “Why was Pakistan even mentioned at a protest against CAA?” she asked. Teresa Braggs, another student-activist, said, “We admit it was irresponsible and tactless of her to begin her speech in that fashion. If that is all she had to say, we condemn it. But we also don’t condone slapping arbitrary and draconian charges like sedition on protesters. She was not allowed to finish her speech and was manhandled by men.”

Mariyam Saigal, a poet and student, said she does not support the slogan or any country that oppresses its people on grounds of religion.

“I’m in India because I want to live in a secular nation, not an Islamist state or a Hindu Rashtriya or any extremist country. But can’t we have the maturity to forgive a kid for her naive statement?” she said.

Mariyam said the way Amulya began her speech was “immature”, but the manner in which it was cut short was “unfortunate” too. “Many men have harassed Amulya. We are so concerned about what a woman said rather than the violence that follows. We hold student protesters accountable for such petty things, but there are much bigger issues and we don’t hold the government to the same standard.”

Zia Nomani of Hum Bharath Ke Log said Amulya had quit the group on January 20 and that she should have started the speech differently. “The theatric performances proved to be unfortunate. She could have started the speech with ‘Nepal Zindabad’ or ‘Sri Lanka Zindabad’ instead of this. There is a way and place to speak things and people can pick other platforms to speak what they want. This is about our fight against CAA, NRC and NPR. We need to stick to the agenda.”

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