By Shameem Faizee
After having failed in setting agenda of choice by raising various emotional and sectarian issues, this week the Narendra Modi government is back on using old cases and filing new cases on the charges of sedition against those who had dared to speak against the government. In Assam a Left intellectual has been charge-sheeted for sedition as he has opposed the government on the issue of citizen’s bill.
During the last four years various BJP controlled state governments have leveled sedition charges against the critics of not only prime minister but even the BJP chief ministers. Number of cases has been filed on the basis of what has been written on the Face book, WhatsApp or other social media tools against Narendra Modi or any BJP chief minister. In Manipur, even after a journalist was granted bail by court, the BJP government invoked NSA to send the victim to jail for a year. All these misuse of charges of British era law on sedition has been condemned by all those who have some regard for democratic right of dissent. Obviously the BJP and its government do not come in this category.
Most brazen use of this law that has made the Modi government a laughable stock is the revival of a case of sedition against the student leaders of JNU after three years. There was some gathering of students in February, 2016 in JNU campus. The ABVPRSS was facing very rough weather among the student community on the suicide committed by Rohit Vemula, a Dalit student leader of Hyderabad. JNUSU president and other student leaders had started mobilising students on the issue of Rohit’s suicide against RSS-ABVP.
To divert people’s attention from this, the ABVP activists planted certain people in the gathering of students who raised antinational slogans. From beginning, it was obvious that the Kashmiris who raised anti- India slogans were planted by ABVP. But police under the direct control of Union Home Ministry, in place of arresting these miscreants, filed cases against Left leaning students that included JNUSU president Kanahiya Kumar who was kept in custody for two weeks. Later the courts released most of them. As no charge sheet was filed during the past three years, everybody thought the government has ultimately decided to forget this “sinful venture” of Delhi police. But it is not so.
The Delhi police have been instructed to file a 12,000 word charge sheet against the JNU student leaders and activists. Of course, according to police, the main culprit is Kanahiya Kumar who has already completed his research work and submitted his doctoral thesis in JNU. He is now active in political field as he has been elected a member of the CPI National Council. Interestingly the most concrete evidence against AISF leader is by five ABVP cadres. Even they have not charged him with raising seditious slogans. Similar filthy and unfounded charges have been referred against other student leaders of JNU.
In the charge sheet, 36 more students have been named but no specific charge has been mentioned against them. These students include Aparajitha Raja, another known AISF activists who had contested the JNUSU presidential election in 2017. Nobody has claimed that she raised an anti-national slogan but her name is being publicised as one of those who have been charge-sheeted for seditious activities.
Obviously, the government, under distress due to growing anger of the masses, want to use some issues to divert people’s attention from the socio-economic issues that have perturbed the people in the recent months and forced them to take to streets. In past few weeks, we witnessed upsurge among farmers and farm labourers, students outburst against the anti-people education policies, growing unemployment as well as economic measures heaping burden on common people. About 20 crore workers observed two days strike, defence workers are going on to strike and different categories of unorganised workers too are on agitation path. The Modi team and its political patrons have realised the fate this government is going to face in the coming four months.
We have repeatedly reminded that the only weapon for this most hated regime is invoking political sentimentalism and use sentimental slogans to hasten communal and caste polarisation and divide the society on sectarian issues to the extent possible.
Not only the secular democratic political forces have to get alerted against this growing threat, they have also to awaken the younger generation, particularly the student community against this growing threat of division. (IPA Service)