A volunteer checks her appearance at the Wikiconference India in Mumbai on Friday. The three-day conference gives an opportunity for contributors to meet and share information. Image Credit: AFP

Mumbai: Even as the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, delivered his address at the first Wikiconference being held here, over 100 activists of the BJP's youth wing protested against the wrong depiction of the states of Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh in the map of India on the Wikipedia website.

Ameet Satam, youth president of Bharaitya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), Mumbai, told Gulf News, that the demonstration was against "the illegal and wrong representation of India. Certain parts of Jammu and Kashmir and the state of Arunachal Pradesh are shown to be not a part of the Union of India on its website. This is a criminal offence under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1961," he said.

The activists demanded that the founders remove the map and legal proceedings be taken against them.

The activists, who were demonstrating in front of Mumbai University, where the conference was taking place, were arrested and later released on a bail bond. "We have submitted a letter to Azad Maidan police station, Deputy Commissioner of Police Zone 1 and Mumbai Police Commissioner to take action under this Act, Section 1.2.2," Satam said.

However, Wales said in his address that the representation of maps on the free encyclopedia was in accordance with the ideas of its readers and editors, and the founders were not the only ones to control the content. Also, on the depiction of India's borders, the website states that "the territorial boundaries of India are shown as per the actual ground situation in accordance with international practices followed by the United Nations and the National Geographical Society."

Neutral

It also adds that the map is meant to be for illustrative purpose only and is not authenticated by official government sources and suggests that local laws should be checked before use.

At the start of the three-day conference, Wales said they tried to maintain a neutral point of view in all fields. "Be it science or politics, people from all over the world contribute to the content of Wikipedia and it displays only what is the view of a large number of them." He also emphasised that Wikipedia editors and contributors abide by local laws and urged greater participation from India."