K’taka: FIR Against 6 of ABVP for Intimidation, Unlawful Assembly

They have been charged with intimidation, unlawful assembly and public nuisance.

3 min read
Twenty-nine-year-old Sandeep Wathar was forced to apologise and delete his post after a mob cornered him.

Four days after an engineering professor was forced to kneel and apologise for his ‘objectionable’ social media posts, Bijapur cops have lodged an FIR against six youths, belonging to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

Sandeep Wathar, assistant professor of civil engineering at Dr PG Halakatti Engineering College and Technology had filed a police complaint on 2 March, the day of the incident, naming the six persons. The case has been registered at the APMC police station.

“They came to my college around 1:30 pm on Wednesday. They wanted me to take them to the spot where the incident occurred which was at the front gate of the college. Then they said they would register the case. I don’t know what kind of pressure they are under. They also took statements from two of my colleagues who were present on 2 March.”
Sandeep Wathar to The Quint

D Ashok, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Bijapur told The Quint that the case wasn’t against any organisation but individuals who misbehaved.

“We have registered a case against those who came and created nuisance. The professor had disclosed some names in his police complaint, we are acting on that. The main charges are those under sections 143, 447, 290 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code that pertain to charges of punishment for unlawful assembly, criminal trespassing, public nuisance and criminal intimidation,” he said.

Wathar said that he had named people in his complaint based on Kannada news reports. According to The News Minute, Kamlesh Sahukar, Vinod Manivaddar, Sachin Bagewadi, Basavaraj Lagali, Sachin Kolur and Santhosh Choudhari have been named in the FIR.

“I only named the people in my complaint who had proudly admitted to being present at the incident and participating. They had been quoted in Kannada news reports. I used the same names.”
Sandeep Wathar

Wathar was also summoned on Wednesday, 6 March, by the internal committee formed to investigate the incident that questioned him. While the proceedings of the meetings are confidential till a final conclusion can be reached, college principal VP Huggi said that it will take time for the decision to be made, as all angles would have to be probed. Till the matter is resolved, Wathar has been sent on temporary leave.

“They said they will call me again, they have more questions. I am not supposed to say anything about it,” said Wathar. The committee comprises senior professors and officials at the college, the principal said.

‘They Are Finding New Ways to Break My Reputation’: Wathar

Wathar said that every day there was more ‘fake news’ coming out about him, that was damaging his reputation.

“There is also some news of people saying that I am anti-Hindu. This is new fake news. I discuss issues related to climate change in my lectures, and I show documentaries about climate change. In that context, I would have said don’t burst crackers, not just for Hindu festivals but also personally,” he said.

“They will find new ways to break my reputation. In India, speaking about religion has its own consequences. They all faced the same consequences, Kalburgi, Dhabholkar, so I don’t want to get into it. Why would an engineering professor be interested in religion?”
Sandeep Wathar

“I have never posted anything about religion on social media, they are not finding anything related to anti-India, they are trying to pin all this. I am an atheist, I don’t want to concern myself for all that. All this nuisance is becoming viral,” he added.

(With inputs from The News Minute)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!