Minutes after Jimmy Wales, founder, Wikimedia Foundation, delivered the opening speech at the WikiConference 2011 at Fort on Friday, members of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) staged a protest outside the Mumbai University campus at Fort.
The activists were protesting against the “incorrect” depiction of the Indian map on the Wikipedia website. “Certain parts of Jammu and Kashmir and the state of Arunachal Pradesh have been deleted from the map of India on the website. The Wikimedia Chapter (India) has its main office in Bengaluru, which makes them criminally liable as per the Indian laws,” said Amit Satam, head, BJYM. “We are not against Wikipedia as a forum. However, our sentiments need to be respected.” During the question-answer round, Wales said, “Compared to China and the middle-east, India does not have a regimented filtering system.”
Claiming that editors around the world were modifying the pages, Wales added, “Wikipedia should be neutral in its approach. If a Wikipedian wants to bring conflicts to an end, they should follow the laws of the world they live in,” he added.
The protest lasted for around 12 minutes and police vans took the protestors to the Azad Maidan police station. “21 people from the BJP youth wing were arrested; they were protesting outside Mumbai University, which is not permissible. The police promulgates an order every month banning the assembly of more than five people in a place with a common intention,” said Anthony Steven, police inspector, Azad Maidan. Those arrested were released on bail later in the evening.