The Bengaluru Police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) against the people who participated in a peaceful protest in Bengaluru, using the metaphor of a ‘watermelon’ in the colours of the Palestinian flag to condemn Israel’s continuous bombardment of Gaza.
On Sunday, November 5, a group of protesters gathered near Bowring Petrol Station on St. Marks Road in Bengaluru. They held placards with messages such as “Of all the fruits to have ever existed, watermelon has been the bravest” and “Ceasefire now,” expressing their opposition to the ongoing violence in Palestine and calling for a ceasefire and peace.
The Cubbon Park Police in Bengaluru took action by registering a voluntary FIR against the people involved in the protest for allegedly violating rules by not obtaining prior permission for their demonstration.
Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Lakshmi of Cubbon Park Police Station in Bangalore, who filed the voluntary complaint and FIR, stated, “Hundreds of people participated in it. The Karnataka High Court had granted permission for protests only at Freedom Park in Bengaluru. The protest on St. Marks Road caused inconvenience to the public, violated the High Court order, and resulted in the registration of an FIR. The police also seized the placards held by the protesters.” The FIR was filed under Sections 149, 188, 283, 290, and 291 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 1860.
During the protest, a supporter of the Sangh Parivar, a right-wing organization, reportedly arrived at the scene and chanted slogans such as ‘Bolo Bharat Mata Ki’ (Hail Mother India) in front of the police, while also making derogatory remarks towards the protesters. The police captured video footage of this incident.
The Cubbon Park police did not file a complaint against the individual who shouted slogans in support of Bharat Mata (Mother India) and used derogatory language. Instead, they filed an FIR against the protesters on charges of violating the rules.
As of now, there is no available information regarding the identity of the person who shouted slogans at the protest. ASI Lakshmi of the Cubbon Park police station clarified, “No complaint has been registered against the person who shouted the slogan.”