What is Sedition?

Sedition according to the dictionary is conduct or speech inciting rebellion against authority of a State or monarch. But different people interpret this in different ways depending on their perception and convenience. It also depends on who said what and when. One can easily make a case that Kanhaiya Kumar and other students of the JNU who indulged in sloganeering –praising Afzal Guru were inciting rebellion and thus are guilty of sedition. Otherwise why were they shouting slogans-for the love of the country?

Now we have many learned professors and even jurists coming to his rescue. One explanation is that he did not shout slogans. But that he was present. As President of the JNUSU (JNU Students Union), isn’t his presence abetting the whole motive of the gathering? Why had the JNU students gathered and how can one absolve Kanhaiya Kumar of sedition because if he had not shouted the slogans, how did he allow it? How did he allow outsiders within the campus? He as the president of the students union is solely responsible for what happened and is accountable for the outsiders’ presence. Surely without his knowledge they would not be there. When one incites, it means that person through speech and slogans fires rebellion. It need not be immediate, but builds tension and hatred for authority – here the Government of Bharat. Abetting this was Rahul Gandhi and Kejriwal. These two by their very presence had certainly vouched what the sloganeering students – be they outsiders or insiders – stood for, gathered for and sloganeered for. One such slogan is ‘Break India’. Is that love for the country? Is there no violence embedded? It is like a bugle call given by Kanhaiya Kumar and his supporters.

Communists, Maoists & the dubious role of foreign-funded activists

The praising of Afzal Guru –the terrorist who targeted Parliament is not something to be overlooked. In this I am shocked that eminent jurists and professors seem to tone down and give it an entirely different version. Rahul Gandhi must remember that Afzal Guru was sentenced to hanging during the tenure when his mother was the extra constitutional power center. By condemning the hanging of Afzal Guru, the outsiders or/and JNU students are condemning our judiciary. Whatever it be, the JNU students were part of the whole event-and Kanhaiya Kumar is answerable as he is the Student Union President. Today, the security guards and others can give another version – because they have to live with these students…they are to be believed by the advocates of the JNU students. Whatever suits their cause is to be believed. It is really saddening to note that professors are supporting the activities of the students.

It is a well know fact that JNU has been known for sheltering and nurturing Communists and Maoists. These two are no more in China but very much present on the soil of Bharat -especially in JNU. What are their aims? Breaking India: destabilizing, creating unrest, dividing the nation, communalizing and finally overthrowing the Government – towards this most of the foreign funds flow. I sincerely wish that the Government of Bharat bans the flow of foreign funds. This can stop all anti-national activity and cut at the roots of proselytization.

Questionable Agenda of ‘Indian’ Express

Day after day, the Indian Express carries articles by professors and others justifying these activities within JNU. Giving them a clean chit and trying to convince the readers how sincere they are, how studious they are, and how nationalistic they are. Even though the Indian Express continues to fill its editorial pages with this one-sided view, it gives no space for dissenting views even in the Letters to the Editor column. So much for Freedom of Speech! All this is towards what?

It made strange reading to find that Kapil Sibal, the advocate for Kanhaiya Kumar, argued in the court that ‘the offence of sedition could not be made out as the alleged sloganeering occurred inside a university campus and not a public place”. He continued “How can something happening inside a university campus between two factions incite people outside to create law and order situation”. This is a strange argument given by a senior advocate. Sedition can be hatched and incitement against authority can be triggered any where – even within a closed room or a university campus. Surely if it happens within a university campus, it has larger implications. It spreads like ripples outside.

For that matter, has the media not brought it into the public domain? Is the print media not screaming how the Freedom of Speech is being suppressed? I do not for a moment hesitate to vehemently state that there is no country in the world which is so tolerant and gives Freedom of Expression the way Bharat does. Will any country tolerate its PM being labeled ‘psychopath’, called a devil? We had Rahul Gandhi’s foot in the mouth utterances that Modi’s 56 inch chest will be reduced to 5.6 inches in Parliament. Has there been any condemnation? Did the BJP go on a rampage? What if under Freedom of speech I call Sonia Gandhi a self server- one who has come to Bharat with the sole purpose of destroying it after having garnered all its treasures; and use abusive tirades against her. I would have been asked to apologize to the nation. Because Congress thinks that Bharat is the fiefdom of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Firstly, I will not stoop to such low level trash. Secondly it is not becoming of any one with a minimum amount of decency. So public figures like Rahul Gandhi should uphold probity in public life-same goes for Kejriwal and Mamta. There is decorum to be maintained. Tolerance is the hall mark of our culture. This does not give unbridled license to utter what one likes – to be abusive and to degrade one’s country, the nation and its elected leader. This is not the spirit of  Freedom of Speech enshrined in the Constitution.

Reverting back to the JNU affair – Are the taxpayers not concerned about how their money is being spent? Of course, there was an article stating that to have freedom of speech the taxpayer must pay. This again is an absurd explanation. The taxpayers’ hard earned money is not to be spent on students becoming activists instead of actively concentrating on their subjects. Instead of aiming at completing their courses at the earliest, they hang on simply because they and their parents do not feel the pinch in their pockets. Hence they continue within the campus paying a meager 11 rupees as room rent and get outsiders also to enjoy their largess.

Coming to Rahul Gandhi and Kejriwal, it is certainly to incite the students and to support their anti-establishment (read Modi’s government) stand that they made their presence in the campus. So they are abettors in sedition. One cannot brush this fact aside on the plea that students are filled with fervor and need not be taken to task. The students are not illiterate or semi literate. They are fully aware of what they are doing. In fact Kanhaiya Kumar canvassed for the CPI in the last election in Bihar. So he is politically oriented. But being politically oriented is not to be faulted. But to use the University campus and his position to further his political ideology is wrong and worse if it is done at the expense of the taxpayers’ money. The core argument for the JNU students lies in the Right to Freedom of Expression. I do not think Rights are immutable and absolute. If that is so how does one explain Minority Rights where there is no equality with others but a differential treatment on the basis of religion?

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About the Author

Dr. Hilda Raja
Dr. Hilda Raja was a PG level professor at Stella Maris College, Chennai. Post retirement, she worked with many NGOs and as a Development Consultant. She was nominated on the Advisory Committe of the CBCI (Catholic Bishops Conference of India ) for three years. Having studied throughout in Minority Institutions and reared in a Christian ethos, she is fully convinced that the Hindu soul is secular and Hindu Dharma is totally misunderstood by other religions. For her, Bharat and all that it holds is sacred.