A Bengaluru court on Wednesday rejected the bail for college student Amulya Leona Noronha (19) for reason that she ‘may abscond’. Amulya has been accused of sedition after she was caught saying ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ in front of people who had gathered to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in city’s Freedom Park area on February 20.
Amulya who is a student of journalism and English at a Bengaluru college was denied a release after the court maintained that she would involve in similar offences and cause disruption of harmony in the society.
The police had booked Amulya under charges of sedition and promoting enmity between groups, although her friends claimed she was trying to convey a message of universal humanity by chanting zindabad in the name of all nations, including Pakistan and India.
The 60th additional city civil and sessions judge Vidyadhar Shirahatti in his order said, “If the petitioner is granted bail, she may abscond. Therefore, the bail petition of the petitioner is liable to be rejected.”
Amulya, known for having a way with words has been often invited at protests against the CAA, NRC and NPR.
Video clips of the speech showed her chanting ‘Hindustan Zindabad’ soon after saying ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and trying to tell the audience that all nations are one in the end. But, she could convey the message as she had her microphone taken away.
Amulya’s bail plea was delayed on account of the lockdown, which came into force on March 25 — around the time hearings were due to begin in a lower court. Bengaluru police did not file a charge sheet against the student during the lockdown.
In the course of bail hearings, which began after lockdown restrictions were eased, the public prosecutor argued that Amulya was trying to incite people to create a law and order problem. The prosecutor also argued that she had earlier been accused of causing hatred and disaffection towards religion and the government established by law in India by holding a placard that stated “F##k Hindutva” during a student protest.
The prosecution argued that the student if released may commit similar offences since cases were already registered against her.
Defending Amulya, a friend who was part of the February 20 protest said, “Before she could complete what she wanted to say they surrounded her and grabbed the microphone. She was later placed under arrest on charges of sedition. What she was trying to say was, if we love one country it does not mean we should hate another.” Another friend said, “Please see her Facebook post of February 16, around 8 pm. Loving another country does not mean you are going against your own — this is exactly what she was trying to say (at the protest). She is promoting unity among nations.”