Mysore Bar Association Refuses to Appear for Woman Booked for 'Free Kashmir' Placard at Protest


Bengaluru: Mysore Bar Association on Tuesday announced that they will not represent the woman who was holding a ‘Free Kashmir’ poster during a protest in Mysore against the violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Nalini Balakumar was booked for sedition days after she was photographed holding the poster during the protest on January 8.

"Some members of our bar association wrote to us saying we must not represent the person who was involved in an anti-national activity. Even her lawyer has withdrawn from representing her. We agreed that this decision was right and decided that none of us would represent the person who has been booked by the police for sedition. We request those outside also to not represent this person," said Anand Kumar, president of the bar association.

Nalini, an alumna of University of Mysore, was part of the protest on campus called by Dalit Students’ Association and Mysore University Research Students Association on Wednesday. The police took up a suo moto case against the organisers, booking Maridevaiah and unknown others for IPC section 124A (sedition) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention). Nalini was later identified through videos and questioned by the police on Saturday.

On Friday, Nalini released a video apologising for "creating confusion". She said she was only highlighting the issue of internet shutdown and would cooperate with the police in investigation. On the same day, she also secured an interim conditional bail.

"This kind of bar association is a blot on the lawyers’ community and on the constitution. Shame on the Mysore bar. Next time lawyers refuse to represent an alleged terrorist or alleged rapist, don't cheer them, cheering them then led us here," said Vinay Sreenivasa, a Bengaluru-based lawyer and activist.

Nalini was unavailable for a response.