Tag Archives: Dissent

Ideas as Crime in a Majoritarian Democracy

idea as crime in democracy

Image Courtesy: Vappingo

To such a degree has Religion fuelled conflict, complicated politics, retarded social development and impaired human relations across the world, that one is often tempted to propose that Religion is innately an enemy of Humanity, if not indeed of itself a crime against Humanity … it is time that the world adopted a position that refuses to countenance Religion as an acceptable justification for, excuse or extenuation of – crimes against Humanity.

-Wole Soyinka

A modern critique of Sacred Books of any religion — which are worshipped by its followers — is an act which is full of dilemmas.

What should one say if they have references about burning of infidels, permitting a man to marry many women, instructing the rulers to cut somebody’s tongue or pour hot lead into somebody’s ears if s/he sings/listens to religious hymns, ordering a particular section of its devotees to be kept aloof even from places of worship or spotting a ‘divine figure’ engaged in abusing one’s own daughter or harassing women.

Should a critical intellectual just look the other way, pretending that s/he does not see, decide to keep quiet or rationalise such acts to further re-ensure her/his faith or say few things, albeit in a mild tone, that such acts do not match modern values?

And what should a modern state — which claims to be not based on faith — do in such a case? Facilitate flourishing of such critiques or allow faith merchants/fanatics of different shades to criminalise such acts taking recourse to its own statue books.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/ideas-crime-majoritarian-democracy)

#NoDissentNoCOUNTRY #StandwithJNU

Bol, ke lab azaad hai tere: Speak for your lips are yet free

 

Akshaya Tankha (JNU 2006) University of Toronto

A full Hindi transcript and video of Kanhaiya Kumar’s speech may be found here: http://kafila.org/2016/02/15/jnusu-president-kanhaiya-kumars-speech-before-being-arrested/

A complete English translation may be accessed here:http://www.telegraphindia.com/1160216/jsp/frontpage/story_69576.jsp#.VsVc8HQrK8r

PUCL statement on the police raid at Prof GN Saibaba’s residence

24th September, 2013
STOP THE WITCHHUNT!
PUCL STATEMENT CONDEMNING THE POLICE RAID OF PROF. GN SAIBABA’S RESIDENCE

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) condemns the illegal raid and search of the residence Professor GN Saibaba of Delhi University on 12th September, 2013. Professor Saibaba is a differently abled person and is wheel chair bound. Ironically, over 50 police persons and intelligence officers raided his house! Prof Saibaba and his entire family including his minor daughter and the driver were all locked in different rooms, during the three-and-half-hour search. It is believed that the raid is pre-cursor to the imminent arrest of Prof Saibaba.

SEARCH WARRANT ILLEGAL

Continue reading PUCL statement on the police raid at Prof GN Saibaba’s residence

Why censorship is the greatest threat to India: Michael Edison Hayden

Guest post by MICHAEL EDISON HAYDEN: An editorial published earlier this month in India Today bemoans India’s willingness to placate religious fundamentalists through artistic censorship. The author, Peter V. Rajsingh, makes the familiar point in “Censorship a slur on India’s ethos” that religious zealots have become “purveyors of infantilising values of Victorian colonial missionaries”. What he says is true, but India’s real problem with censorship extends far beyond removing images of bare breasts from movie screens. There is possibly no issue today – including the vile treatment of women and the relentless threat of terrorism – that poses a greater threat to the happiness and security of Indian citizens than that of censorship. And I believe that it is extremely important for those of us who live here, and love this country to comprehend the weight of this situation before it is too late. Continue reading Why censorship is the greatest threat to India: Michael Edison Hayden

Dastan-e-Sedition

Free Binayak Sen Campaign

Justice on Trial:
three days of cultural events
April 4 – 6, 2011
@ Alliance Francaise de Delhi
72, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi 110003

Justice on Trial (Facebookers RSVP here) is a collaborative programme put together by leading contemporary artists, photographers, film makers, musicians, performers, and activists to commemorate struggles for democracy, freedom and rights. An exhibition of photographs and art works, talks performances and screenings all are directed at drawing renewed attention to the trial of Dr. Binayak Sen, who has emerged in recent times as a symbol of courageous resistance, and a reminder of the many injustices that surround us. Our aim is to provoke a dialogue with the colours and sounds that emerge from the idea of what Dr. Sen represents.  Continue reading Dastan-e-Sedition

On sedition: Sarim Naved

In this guest post, SARIM NAVED gives a chronological account of sedition in Indian law, and discusses the procedural aspects laid down for a magistrate to take cognisance of sedition

After the 1857 revolt, the Press Act of 1857 which prohibited all publications, without licensing, was passed. This Act known as Lord Canning’s Act  applied to all kinds of publication, including books in all languages and other printed papers in all languages. 1860 saw the enactment of the Indian Penal Code, which remains in force today in a relatively unchanged manner. The Indian Penal Code, while not directly dealing with the press, does incorporate provisions that impinge upon and regulate the activities of the press. The code dealt with issues ranging from offences against a person’s body or property to criminal breach of trust to offences like defamation and obscenity that directly concerned editors.  In the words of Rajeev Dhavan, “It was a comprehensive code. Not all these provisions were directed against free speech but virtually all could be used against it.” Amendments were later introduced to bring in the offence of sedition in 1870, the offence of promoting enmity between classes in 1898, the offence of outraging religious feelings in 1928 and imputations or assertions prejudicial to national integration, which were added by the government of independent India in 1972. Continue reading On sedition: Sarim Naved

Clamping down on the dissenting voice

Part 3 of a 3 part series by SIDDHARTH NARRAIN. First published on The Hoot.
 

While the Supreme Court’s decision lay to rest the debate on the scope and constitutional validity of the sedition law, the life of the sedition law is entangled with that of political dissent in the country. A brief search for reported High Court and Supreme Court cases on sedition gives us an indication of the kinds of situations where the sedition law is commonly used.

For instance, in 1967, the government prosecuted Ghulam Rasood Choari, the editor of an Agra based Urdu weekly called Ehsas for exhorting the Muslims of the country, especially the Muslims of Kashmir to violence against the government and bringing the readers of the paper into ‘hatred’ and contempt and dissatisfaction with the government (Ghulam Rasool Choari v. The State 1968 CriLJ 884).

Continue reading Clamping down on the dissenting voice