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EditorialResorting to frivolous charges

Resorting to frivolous charges


Resorting to frivolous charges

Despite random eruptions of extreme viewpoints occasionally and all aberrations, remains a liberal and tolerant country. The essence of democratic values in this country are deep rooted into is ethos. People professing diverse religion, castes and sects are part of social and cultural milieu.  Some elements have been indulging in spreading hatred among the various communities and sects and even cross the lines that hurts the sentiments of the people of this country. On the contrary, some people are taking this of nationalism and patriotism a bit too far. Neither should be hostage to the whims of crazies and others who rush to brand anyone disagreeing with them as traitors. Slapping sedition charges at the drop of a hat, in fact, cheapens patriotism. The Indian nation can survive an honest difference of opinion as to what constitutes patriotism.

India as a vibrant democracy of a billion-plus people,  its strength lies in the foundational pillars of the Constitution, the basic freedoms it guarantees to each citizen being one of them. Fear or favour should not be able to undermine those freedoms under any circumstances.

Interestingly, while the sedition charges are often slapped  at a drop of a hat elsewhere in the country, it has been never thought to be used in certain pockets of valley when open rebellion is being pursued by many separatists outfits and some time even  by some mainstream politicians.

If that be the case, the sedition complaint (it is a private complaint and not charges as is being wrongly reported in certain sections) filed against Ramya, a Kannada actor-turned-politician who was a Congress member in the previous Lok Sabha, are wholly frivolous and need to be dismissed outright.

Recently back from Pakistan after participating in the SAARC Youth Summit, she said, ‘Pakistan is not hell…' Aside from the fact that she had the right to her opinion, there was nothing seditious in what she said.

Pakistan might be engaged desperately in destabilising India, and might be doing a thousand other evil things, but that does not make it hell. Ramya, at any rate, was emphasising her own experience while in Pakistan. The sooner the complaint against her is dismissed the better.

In fact, given the plethora of sedition cases being filed on the flimsiest of excuses, the government must step in to delete this colonial era monstrosity from the statute book.

All parties have misused Section 124A in the IPC framed way back in 1860 to a) play to the gallery for political ends, and, b) to harass their political adversaries. The Congress is a bigger culprit in this regard since it has been in power for a much longer period than the BJP.

The Karnataka government, a few days ago, slapped sedition charges against global human rights body, Amnesty International, after a few Kashmiri boys raised aazadi slogans at a meeting it had organised in Bengaluru. Whatever the merit in the charge against Amnesty International, there is none whatsoever against Ramya. Her saying Pakistan is not hell is not the same thing as her approving all the evil that Pakistan does against India. The two are completely separate things.

We should not lose our sense of perspective if such attempts will be made so frequently flimsy grounds and sparing where such acts are most needed.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.


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