Continuing with colonial sedition law reflects anti-democratic and anti-people mind-set

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, April 3: The one blunder that Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and their colleagues committed about which the regressive Bharatiya Janata Party and Sangh Parivar would not like to talk about was continuing with the colonial system of governance and colonial laws of which sedition is one.

India has perpetuated the system that was introduced to rule over the people by the British, the system that is anti-thesis to democracy and free thinking.

Not just the law of sedition, it is the entire system of governance that calls for major change.

This system and the laws are not applicable in England, the country that imposed this system on Indians whom they had forced into subjugation.

The promise made by the Congress to revoke this totalitarian law is an attempt to create space for free thinking and democratic functioning of the mind. This free thinking is opposed to the lynch mentality that has been witnessed during the 5-year rule of the BJP at the centre.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley when questioned yesterday on sedition law not being there in England, said that country did not face the situation that confronts India. Of course, England was a free country and India was under occupation of that country at the time this law was introduced.

However, one vital aspect he looked while defending continuation of this colonial legislation. England provides democratic space to honour people’s will and the example that can be quoted here is that of Scotland. Jaitley knows is very well that referendum was held some years back in Scotland on the very issue of remaining with England or not.

One of the extreme examples of misuse of sedition law was witnessed in Panjab University in Chandigarh in 2017 when this law was invoked against students protesting against hike in fee! This charge was later withdrawn.

The problem with the Sangh Parivar is that the members of this Hindutva organisation kept themselves insulated from the freedom struggles. The law of sedition, as such, did not concern them.

Yet another controversy that has been triggered by the Congress manifesto is related to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

Punjab has been laboratory for more than a decade of all such repressive and regressive laws that humiliated the people.

Police officials in Punjab at one stage approached Chief Minister Beant Singh seeking immunity for action against militants.

Punjab witnessed hundreds of fake encounters over the years and the same has been proved in the Supreme Court in case of cremation of unidentified bodies in just three cremation grounds in Amritsar district. The families of the victims were awarded compensation.

India is not a garrison state but the largest democracy in the world. But the basic issue is od providing democratic space for dialogue and dissent.

The cabinet colleagues of Narendra Modi are now advancing the same narrative of demoralisation of the armed forces that used to be advanced in Punjab at one time. It may be mentioned that several police officials at every level in Punjab have either been convicted for killing people in fake encounters or facing prosecution.

Despite all the repressive laws that were applied in Punjab, Khalistan and militancy continues to be part of the narrative.

Jaitley should appreciate Pt Nehru at least for perpetuating colonial legacy by continuing the sedition law that he now so strongly defends.

Jagtar Singh

+91-9779711201

jagt[email protected]

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