The identity of the girl holding a placard that read “Free Kashmir” surfaced during a demonstration against the vandalism in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) at Mumbai’s Gateway of India is now known. She is Mehak Mirza Prabhu. Clarifying her position following the ruckus over her placard, she has claimed that her place of domicile is Mumbai. However, a deeper probe revealed that she does have a Kashmiri associate.
Mehak said in a video uploaded on Instagram, “… The picture created by entire social media came as an absolute shock to me. Placard meant freedom to express themselves, freedom from the internet lockdown which many people have been voicing for. I was voicing my solidarity for (a) basic constitutional right. No other agenda or motive what so ever. If by being naive in understanding the impact it would have, and in the process create this stir. I apologise. I am (an) artist who believes in basic human compassion.”
The BJP has questioned the right-turned-left Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray and his government for allowing secessionist elements to demonstrate in its area of jurisdiction. The placard betrays a different motive of the protesters, the party has alleged.
Senior BJP leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis questioned the chief minister of the state and asked whether the anti-India campaign was acceptable to him. Fadnavis quoted an ANI video of the placard-wielding Mehak and wrote, “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 2 km from CMO? Uddhav ji are you going to tolerate this Free Kashmir Anti India campaign right under your nose??? @OfficeofUT“
Mehak Mirza Prabhu (37) claims she is from Mumbai. She says she is a writer and storyteller who creates short fictional stories and narrates those stories to people. It has turned out she has a creative partner named Mohammed Munim. He is a Kashmiri singer-songwriter based in Mumbai, whose songs and poems are mostly related to the valley.
When reporters asked Mehak about her choice of slogans, she said that she was not from Kashmir, but she wanted freedom for all.