Image: Delhi Police denies permission for public meeting on Kashmir (Republic/PTI)
The Delhi Police has denied permission for a public meeting on Kashmir at the Gandhi Peace Foundation on Wednesday, citing the possibility of law and order disturbance, officials said on Wednesday.
The event was scheduled at 2 pm at the venue and the speakers at the event included Delhi University professor Nandita Narain, Hussain Masood, retired judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, CPI (M) leader MY Tarigami, filmmaker Sanjay Kak, Mir Shahid Saleem, Chairman of United Peace Alliance, and Anil Chamadia, a senior journalist.
In a communication to the Gandhi Peace Foundation, the Station House (SHO) of IP Estate police station said, "Information/local input has been received that some anonymous group is planning/ organising public meeting on 'Media Blackout in Kashmir' at 3 PM on March 15, 2023 at Gandhi Peace Foundation. Efforts to get the details of members of the anonymous group have been made but the same could not be verified.
"There is discreet input of disturbance in law and order situation in view of organising this above public meeting. In view of the above, you are requested to cancel the booking and intimation may kindly be sent to the undersigned at the earliest."
According to Narain, one of the speakers of the event, the public meeting was organised by several student and teacher groups.
"The speakers were informed about the cancellation, just when they were about to leave for the event. It was not a protest but a public meeting. It was being carried out in a hall and the police had nothing to do with it.
"This is what is happening. They are entering colleges to stop events. There was to be a discussion on media blackout in Kashmir but this cancellation shows that it is happening everywhere," she told PTI.
Narain claimed that the police had "tried the same thing" with the Bharat Bachao programme at HKS Surjeet Bhavan on March 11 and 12, but the organisers managed to get a court order allowing the programme to be held.
"This outrageous cancellation at the last minute only serves to reinforce the widely known fact about the suppression of free speech, not only in Kashmir but all over India, including in its capital Delhi," she alleged.
Last week, the Delhi High Court allowed the holding of a national seminar of the members of a collective called Bharat Bachao and asked the organisers to provide a list of participants and their details to the police
At that time, Gade Inna Reddy and Mondru Francis Gopinath, members of Bharat Bachao, a collective of scholars, had approached the court with a grievance that the Delhi Police unilaterally denied them permission to organise the private programme, titled Understanding Fascism in Present India Context, two days before the event was to be held.
Justice Tushar Rao Gedela had asked the parties to cooperate with each other to ensure that the seminar is held in a peaceful atmosphere and there is no untoward incident.