Guest Post by SIMAR SINGH
Honourable Prime Minister of India,
I am fifteen years old, and I’m not an anti-nationalist, but I believe that having an opinion that differs from that of the state isn’t a crime.
I’m not an anti-nationalist, but I believe that physical and verbal abuse by lawyers against the accused in a courtroom in the presence of the police is a defamation of our legal system and violation of the Right to Fair Trial as stated in the Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I’m not an anti-nationalist, but I believe that verbal harassment of an accused on National Television in the name of Media Trial is unjustified. I don’t know journalism or media better than those running the news provision system of our country but what I do know is that each journalist or media personnel or any human being for the matter of fact is subjected to converse or debate with another human being with a certain decency and a sense of respect towards other’s opinion. Defamation of an accused by a journalist by labelling him/her as an anti-nationalist and calling them a shame to the nation is a violation of the article 41 of the Norms of Journalism Conduct published by the Press Council of India in 2010 and a threat to one’s dignity and public image.
I’m not an anti-nationalist, but I do get furious when the media and the government potray an entire university as a hub of anti-national activities just because it’s students stood up and spoke out their opinion.
I’m not an anti-nationalist, but as an aware student and sovereign individual I’m not afraid to put forth my opinion which may be different from that of my government. I may not be in support of everything the students of JNU have said, but I believe that as students and well informed citizens of a democratic nation they deserve all the chances to speak out their opinions without the fear of being jailed or tried in the court or media or being labelled anti-nationalists.
I’m not an anti-nationalist, but I believe that India is going to complete 70 years as a democratic nation and it is just time that we do away with the Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code which was introduced by the British during the Colonial Rule to suppress the Freedom struggle. Ironically, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mohandas Gandhi were also tried under the same law.
Mahatma Gandhi famously commented on this law calling it a law designed to suppress the liberty of a citizen. The presence of such a law poses a threat to a citizen’s freedom of speech and our nation’s democracy.
I’m not an anti-nationalist, but I feel scared that if the student’s of this nation are suppressed for difference of opinion today, the future students of our country would be afraid to speak in times of national crisis because of the consequences of today’s student protests. All those against the movement by the students all over the country need to realise that none of these students are fighting for themselves. But they are standing up for what the believe is right and opposing what they believe is wrong. All those calling this uprise a political conspiracy by the opposition need to understand that these students aren’t politically motivated today. Their only motivation is to change the situation in our nation and by suppressing them in such unfair ways all you’re doing is proving them right. They may have political aspirations in the future and they are justified to join politics because the only way to change the issues in the system is to be internally a part of that system.
I’m not an anti-nationalist, but I might be called one for writing this letter.
A Concerned 15 year old.