On February 20, a petite, young woman, Amulya Leona Noronha, got on to a stage filled with men and shouted “Pakistan Zindabad”. The event was part of the ongoing nationwide agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
The slogan she shouted alarmed the men present — including All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi who was on the stage — so much that they tried to snatch the microphone away and prevent her from speaking another word. Her subsequent shout of ‘Hindustan Zindabad’ got suppressed in the chaos and her intentions regarding the raising of these slogans were misunderstood.
In no time, the Bengaluru police dragged this 19-year-old undergraduate student of journalism off the stage and booked her for sedition. Amulya has since been languishing in the central prison located at Parappana Agrahara, Bengaluru. Her arrest took place amidst a frenzy whipped up by both the BJP-ruled Karnataka government and the big media.
The fact that Amulya had written a Facebook post about her reasons for hailing not just Pakistan but all other neighbouring countries was suppressed and she was immediately painted as an ‘anti-national’.
Amulya was been booked under 124-A, 153[A], 153-B, 505 of the Indian Penal Code for sedition, showing “disaffection towards the government of India”, “for wanton vilification or attacks upon the religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc. of any particular group or class or upon the founders and prophets of a religion”, for “Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration” and for “statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes”. The maximum punishment under these sections could go up to a life sentence if proved guilty. All this for just saying ‘Pakistan Zindabad’.