The woman, identified as Mehak Mirza Prabhu, was seen holding up a placard with 'Free Kashmir' written on it at Mumbai's Gateway of India.
JNU violence protests: The woman at the centre of controversy after she was seen raising a ‘Free Kashmir’ placard during protests at Gateway of India against violence at JNU has offered an apology, saying what she meant was “freedom from the internet lockdown” in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In a video released on her social media handle, she said that she had no other agenda or motive whatsoever. “This is the truth behind the Lady holding the placard “Free Kashmir” at Gateway protest. The picture created by entire social media came as an absolute shock to me. 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 rights,” she said in her Facebook post. “No other agenda or motive what so ever. If by being naive in understanding the impact it would have, and in the process create this stir. I apologise,” she further wrote.
The woman, identified as Mehak Mirza Prabhu, was seen holding up a placard with ‘Free Kashmir’ written on it at Mumbai’s Gateway of India. When asked what she meant by the poster she was holding, Prabhu told India Today that it was “to demand basic human rights for Kashmiris who have been put under an unprecedented lockdown for six months now”. Following her remarks, the Bharatiya Janata Party questioned the intent of the people who claimed that they were protesting against JNU violence.
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis slammed chief minister Uddhav Thackeray for allegedly allowing “separatist” views in Mumbai. “These protests are for what exactly? Why slogans of “Free Kashmir”? How can we tolerate such separatist elements in Mumbai? ‘Free Kashmir’ slogans by Azadi gang just two km from CMO? Uddhav ji are you going to tolerate this Anti-India campaign right under your nose?” asked Fadnavis.
BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya reacted sharply and said: “Tukde Tukde gang sighted in Mumbai holding ‘Free Kashmir’ posters…They were supposedly ‘protesting’ against violence in JNU…” BJP leader Kirit Somaiya registered a complaint seeking an investigation into the matter. “I have lodged a complaint with Colaba Police Station against Minister Jitendra Awhad of Thackeray Sarkar, for leading illegal, anti-national “Kashmir ko Chahiye Azadi” demonstrations. Police said no permission was given for the demonstration I demand Action against Minister,” he said in a tweet.
As the issue blew up, Prabhu took to social media to clarify her stand. She said that she is not a Kashmiri and had joined the protests as others had done. Speaking on the poster, she said that there were multiple placards lying for several issues such as CAA and NRC. “But when I saw Free Kashmir, the first thing struck to my mind was Internet lockdown and I just picked that placard,” she said. Prabhu further said that the act had been misinterpreted and blown out of proportion.