Ram Sena Announces Reward for Chopping 3 Kashmiri Students' Tongue

Right wing activists thrashing detained students at Hubali court

SRINAGAR - A leader of a rightwing organisation in Karnataka has announced a reward of Rs 3 lakh to anyone who chops the tongues off the three Kashmiri students booked on sedition charges last week.

Siddalinga Swami, the honorary secretary of the rightwing Sri Ram Sene made these comments in a video that has gone viral on social media, New Delhi based news website The Wire reported. The news portal translated the Kannada comments into English in which Swami is calling the three Kashmiri students as anti-nationals.

“On the occasion of the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, I am telling you that those who have been nurtured by India and have chanted ‘Pakistan zindabad‘, who are currently in jail…their tongues, with which they chanted ‘Pakistan zindabad’, whoever can cut off those tongues and bring them, the Sri Ram Sene will give them Rs 1 lakh for each tongue – a total of Rs 3 lakh as reward. Such anti-nationals do not deserve to be in this state. The Sri Ram Sene is ready to take on those who oppose the country,” Swami says in the video.

Talib Majeed, Basit Asif Sofi and Amir Mohiuddin Wani, studying at KLE Institute of Technology in Hubballi district of Karnataka were arrested last Saturday for allegedly raising pro-Pakistan slogans and posting a video on social media. The trio hailing from Shopian district of Valley were let off next day after they executed a bond under 169 CrPC. However, hours later they were rearrested after rightwing organisations staged protests against their release.

The Sri Ram Sene had until recently focused its attention on violent moral policing, especially around the time of Valentines Day celebrations on February 14. In 2009, its members gained special notoriety after they chased, slapped and dragged by the hair several women in Mangaluru who had gone to a pub, The Wire report added. All four accused were acquitted.

Lawyers refuse to plead for students

Meanwhile, the Karnataka High Court today directed the Hubli Commissioner of Police to ensure protection for the advocates who wish to represent the three Kashmiri students, Indian legal website Bar and Bench reported.

The Hubli Bar Association had recently passed a resolution stating that no member shall plead the case of the three students. This prompted a group of 24 advocates to file a petition before the Karnataka High Court challenging the resolution.

The Bar and Bench report said that a Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar today remarked,

"How can the Bar Association pass such a resolution ... By passing such a resolution they are obstructing court work. Are they carrying out a mini trial by themselves?"

Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Oka further stated that, "We will ensure that they (advocates who wish to represent the accused) are able to file bail applications for the accused."

The Court observed that the resolution passed is wholly illegal and against the traditions of the Bar. Moreover, the resolution is against the constitutional right of accused persons to have an advocate of their choice represent them, the Court observed.

In this regard, the Court urged the Hubli Bar Association to reconsider its resolution, as it appeared to be "ex-facie" against the mandate of law. The Court also pointed out that the Bar Association was bound by the Constitutional mandate and additionally, its members are bound by professional ethics envisaged in the Bar Council of India Rules.

However, if the Bar Association does not reconsider its resolution, the Court would be compelled to examine its legality, the Bench forewarned.

The Court further directed the petitioners to implead the office bearers of the Hubli Bar Association as well, the report added.

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