Under fire, Mumbai girl says sorry for ‘Free Kashmir’ placard


 Facing flak from various right-wing groups and activists for carrying a placard “FREE KASHMIR” at a massive protest near the Gateway of India, a Mumbai woman claimed it was “intended for peace in Jammu & Kashmir”, and apologized for the misunderstanding it created, here on Tuesday.

The placard was seen in her hand on Monday evening during the massive protests in Mumbai to condemn the violence on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus two days ago which triggered a political controversy.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis demanded to know what the protest was exactly and why slogans of ‘Free Kashmir’.

“How can we tolerate such separatist elements in Mumbai? ‘Free Kashmir’ slogan by Azadi gang at 2 kms from the CMO? Uddhavji (Thackeray) are you going to tolerate this ‘Free Kashmir’ anti-India campaign right under your nose???” Fadnavis tweeted today.

Responding to the BJP charges, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut made it clear that it would not tolerate if anybody talks of freedom of Kashmir from India.

“I read that those who held the ‘Free Kashmir’ poster clarified that they want to be free of restrictions on Internet services, mobile services and other issues. It doesn’t mean that they advocate freedom from India,” Raut told mediapersons.

Nationalist Congress Party Minister Jayant Patil nudged and told Fadnavis that the ‘Free Kashmir’ was intended for freedom from all restrictions and discrimination.

On her part, the woman was identified as Mehak Mirza Prabhu, a Mumbai-born who works as a ‘story-teller’, said that though she had no agenda or motive, she was taken aback by the reactions on social media to the ‘Free Kashmir’ poster she carried on Monday night.

“The picture created by entire social media came as an absolute shock to me. The placard meant ‘freedom to express themselves, freedom from the Internet lockdown which many people have been voicing for’. I was voicing my solidarity for basic Constitutional right. No other agenda or motive whatsoever,” said Prabhu.

Reiterating that she was a Maharashtrian, born and bred up in Mumbai, she said: “I am (an) artist who believes in basic human compassion. If by being naïve in understanding the impact it would have, and in the process create this stir, I apologise”.

Prabhu urged all to let the ‘power of love overcome hate’, even as a Mumbai BJP-activist lawyer Vivekanand Gupta shot off a message to Commissioner of Police demanding her arrest. (IANS)

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