Bengaluru Police personnel attempt to stop Amulya Leona as she was speaking during a protest against CAA, NRC and NPR, in Bengaluru. (PTI)
“I think she (Amulya Leona) wanted to talk about what she had written on Facebook, but unfortunately she started with ‘Pakistan Zindabad’, which she shouldn't have done... ” said a friend of Amulya, the 19-year-old who raised “Pakistan Zindabad” slogans at a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in Bengaluru on Thursday.
Known as a firebrand student activist among her friends, Amulya participated in almost all the anti-CAA protests organised in Karnataka. A friend, who did not want to be named, told indianexpress.com that Amulya is currently pursuing a journalism course in a prominent college in South Bengaluru.
“Originally from Koppa in Chikkamagaluru district, she was living with a group of friends in Bengaluru. Her parents in Chikkamagaluru are not supportive of her activism and anti-CAA stance,” her friend added.
Amulya, her fellow activists say, was one who missed no chance in spreading word about the Citizenship Act. She used various social media platforms, including the dating app—Tinder, to mobilise support for protests in the state.
On February 16, Amulya wrote a Facebook post in Kannada which her friends said was the actual speech she wanted to deliver at the protest rally on Thursday.
(Below is the speech in English)
Whichever country it is - zindabad to all countries.
You teach the children that nation is it's soil. We children are telling you - nation means it is its people. All people should get their basic facilities. All of them should be able to avail their fundamental rights. Governments should take care of the people of these countries. Zindabad to everyone who serve the people.
I don't become a part of a different nation just because I say zindabad to that nation. As per law, I am an Indian citizen. It is my duty to respect my nation and work for the people of the country. I will do that. Let us see what these RSS guys will do.
The Sanghis will get annoyed by this. Start your series of comments. What I have to say I will say.
Amulya did her schooling in Manipal, Udupi and Koppa and completed her graduation from NMKRV College for Women, Jayanagara.
Another activist, who was present at the protest on Thursday, said, “I think if she started with what she wrote on facebook then it wouldn't have been a controversy. After she raised the slogan a few times, the organisers snatched the microphone from her. After that, without the microphone, she tried to say what she meant and also said ‘Hindustan Zindabad’, but police officials took her off the stage and arrested her.”
In the video footage, she is heard saying “please wait, let me continue,” to the others on the stage, but she is held back by a policeman. She somehow breaks free and tries to address the gathering without the microphone. "The difference between Pakistan zindabad and Hindustan zindabad is that Pakistan zindabad…,” she tries to continue before being cut off by the organisers and the police.
Amulya is not new to controversy. She was among a group of women who heckled Postcard News founder Mahesh Vikram Hegde at Mangaluru airport earlier this year. Amulya along with Karnataka Congress spokesperson Kavitha Reddy and student activist Najma Nazeer confronted Hegde and asked him to sing Vande Mataram.
On Friday, Amulya was charged with sedition, and sent in 14-day judicial custody. She was denied bail by a judicial magistrate.
B Ramesh, DCP Bengaluru (West) said, “We have registered a suo moto case against Amulya under Section 124A (sedition), 153A and B (promoting enmity between different groups and imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration).”
On Thursday night, miscreants vandalised her house in Koppa. Her father Oswald Noronha filed a police complaint. Later that night, unidentified men were seen in a video demanding that Noronha chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'. He is heard saying: "Every single word my daughter said was wrong. I have tried to make her understand several times, however, she doesn't pay heed to it. I have not spoken to my daughter for the past five days." When asked if he will seek bail, Noronha says, "I will not approach lawyers for her bail."
In Mysuru, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa claimed Amulya had links with Naxalites. “Amulya’s links with Naxalites have been proved in an investigation. She must be punished and action will be taken against the organisations behind it.”