Mumbai Police filed an FIR against Mahek Mirza, a protestor from Monday night's protest at Gateway of India, for holding a placard that read 'Free Kashmir.' The FIR is filed at the Colaba police station after the protestor sparked a row with her placard in the demonstration against the BJP government. Mumbai's Occupy Gateyway protest against the amended Citizenship Act and the violence that was unleashed at the JNU campus on Sunday night ended on Tuesday morning.
As per Republic sources, the FIR has been filed under Section 153B, however, the Police have still not called her for a statement. Mehak Mirza Prabhu posted a video on YouTube where she said that her act was "misinterpreted" and that her message was meant to draw focus on the five-month-long Internet blockade in the region. She also stated she is a native of Maharashtra and not of Kashmir.
"The narrative that has been put out is absolutely misinterpreted... Like anybody else who believes in a democracy, I also joined the protest. People were holding placards about many issues like NRC, CAA, (violence against) JNU students and while I was there I spotted a placard that read 'Free Kashmir', Mehak Prabhu said.
Mehak Prabhu, who describes herself as a fictional storyteller, said holding the 'Free Kashmir' placard was meant to stand in solidarity with Kashmiris who were out of internet coverage for five months. "When I saw this placard the first thing that came to my mind is that we are here to talk about basic Constitutional rights and freedom and those rights are gone for Kashmiris as it is under a five-month-long internet shutdown."
She added that Kashmiris have the right to enjoy the freedom of expression as like any other Indian. Internet connections were snapped on August 5 across the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir last year to avoid unrest following the abrogation of Article 370. The government has periodically been lifting curbs on communication services. "I was standing there with a flower in my hand to say 'let's offer peace'. That was my only intention to hold that placard."
Taking the opportunity, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis slammed Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray over the "Free Kashmir" poster at the protest. He questioned the slogans and said, "Protest is for what exactly? Why slogans of "Free Kashmir"? How can we tolerate such separatist elements in Mumbai? "Free Kashmir" slogans by Azadi gang at 2km from CMO? Uddhav ji are you going to tolerate this Free Kashmir Anti India campaign right under your nose?"
However, Shiv Sena's Aaditya Thackeray backing the protester said that the intent of the protester should be taken into consideration. On Tuesday morning, opining on the issue, Sanjay Raut said that the party "would not tolerate anyone talking of freedom of Kashmir from India." Further stating that the poster was misunderstood.