Freedom of Expresion or Sedition!

Dr. Jaipal Singh
Bookmark and Share

Many fellow Indians must have forgotten by now the August 2018 arrest of five so-called civil rights activists by the Pune (Maharashtra) police in a nationwide crack-down for their alleged Maoist links in connection with the 'Elgaar Parishad' and 'Bhima-Koregaon Violence' about a year back. The police had then produced the arrested individuals in different courts for seeking their remand; however, the supporters of the alleged activists, mostly left leaning well-connected intellectuals and academician activists filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking their immediate release from the police custody of all arrested activists. At political level too, the entire opposition led by the grand old party of this country had denounced the action of police as politically motivated to suppress the freedom of expression of the peace-loving activists. The Supreme Court had granted relief from the arrest and restricted it to house-detention for a given period. In short, the case made national and international headlines and uproar for days and opposition from a large section of media, political parties and intellectual/activists caused major embarrassment and setback to the government and law-enforcing agencies to make headway in the case.

The main apprehension and objection of the police was that if the accused are set free, they might destroy crucial evidences against them in the case. The apex court while refusing the police demand made an interesting observation – “Dissent is the safety valve of democracy. If you don't allow the safety valve pressure cooker will burst". Needless to mention, if the plea of the investigating authorities had any substance and logic, the relief granted to the accused indeed gave sufficient scope and liberty to mess up with the evidence. A few weeks later, however, the apex court found sufficient material evidences to refuse any further grant of relief and immunity to the same accused now allowing the police reasonable free hand to work on the case. Needless to say the accused were arrested without any media attention and publicity this time.

Now in yet another case related with the same alleged crime, few days back the Bombay High Court in its order has observed the Elgaar Parishad and Bhima-Koregaon Violence as a “deep-rooted conspiracy” with “extremely serious repercussions. The two-judges division bench made this observation while dismissing a petition filed by an accused Anand Teltumbde seeking to quash FIR against him. The court felt that the Pune police have enough material to go ahead in the case and the investigating agency must be allowed to have sufficient opportunity to collect evidence. The order has indeed come as a relief to Pune police especially after the earlier allegations of harassment and politically motivated case leveled by civil rights activists.

The five activists referred to in the opening paragraph are being further investigated by the police. According to police, the Elgar Parishad event was funded and supported by the banned organization CPI (Maoists). To recap the case, important developments are briefly summarized:

  • On 31 December 2017, the ‘Elgaar Parishad’ was organized allegedly with two retired judges as chief organizers in Pune mobilizing a large crowd. Many speakers made fiercely revolutionary and inflammatory speeches emphasizing their commitment to fight against the allegedly repressive economic, social and cultural policies of the Modi regime.
  • This followed another large scale gathering at Bhima-Koregaon next day on 1st January 2018 wherein large scale violence broke out engaging upper caste and lower scheduled caste people.
  • Initial investigation by Maharashtra (Pune) police prima facie found a deep nexus of Maoists, anti-social elements and Urban-naxals behind the incident with a larger conspiracy of creating social unrest and armed conflict in the country.
  • The police arrested several people linked with violence in May-June 2018.
  • The arrest of five urban-naxals in August 2015 was widely opposed by a section of media, political parties and intellectual/civil rights activists citing it as the government’s attempt to muzzle dissent, seeking the intervention of the apex court.
  • The apex court order for the release of five activists was then celebrated by the same people as the major win of democracy and human rights.

Now the fog has cleared, the apex court had earlier refused to intervene or grant any relief to the accused in the matter and if the recent order of the High Court is of any clue or indication, the entire episode of the Elgaar Parishad and Bhima-Koregaon Violence indeed appears to be a deeply-hatched conspiracy against nation to cause social unrest and class war by spreading violence with the active involvement of the banned Maoist organization and their urban sympathizers and supporters posing as the intellectuals/civil rights activists in the society.

Looking at the entire sequence of events dispassionately, any patriotic and right-thinking Indian would indeed feel bad and regret the reaction and response of the particular section of the media, political parties and so-called intellectuals/civil rights activists, who in a zeal to oppose every action of the government prefer to go even to the extent of supporting the anti-national activities and such offenders in the name of the freedom of expression and civil liberty. In fact, the background of the said activists referred to in the first paragraph (I am consciously not calling names), including the record of their past misdemeanour, instances of their arrest, prosecution and imprisonment during the past regime(s) is readily available in the public domain. Hence those who are defending them against proposed investigation glorifying them as the civil rights activists and peace loving citizens are either under delusion or working hand-in-gloves.

The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on several occasions had termed naxalism as “the greatest internal security threat to our country” simultaneously underlining the measures taken by his government to deal with their menace. In fact, way back at the Chief Ministers’ meet on Naxalism on 13 April 2006, he had given a long speech exclusively on naxalism citing the details of the threat posed by the naxalites and measures to tackle it in the country. It is ironical to note that, now in opposition, the leaders and political party finds these activists with proven naxal links in the past as intellectuals and peaceful activists. The scholar/academics like Romilla Thaper Inc see them as peaceful and respectable citizens with human cause.

The democracy and fundamental rights in Constitution come with certain riders in the form of “directive principles” and “fundamental duties” which every Indian is morally obelized to abide. This inter alia includes abiding the Constitution and respecting it’s ideals and institutions, the National Flag and National Anthem, and upholding and protecting the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the nation. The media, political parties and white-collared intellectuals, liberals and civil rights activists protecting and supporting such anti-social and anti-national elements too have this responsibility for the nation and constitution. They should not be so greedy to serve own vested interests as to forget the distinction between the freedom of expression and sedition.

More By  :  Dr. Jaipal Singh

  • Views: 1017
  • Comments: 2

Comments on this Blog

Comment Thank you, Shailja, for your apt remarks about the current situation. Actually, more you read and critically review the sociopolitical developments after independence under a particular ideology, you will find that a section of privileged lot including media, politicians and said intellectuals while speaking for the poor and under-privileged, evolved their own definition and interpretation of ideals like secularism, nationalism and freedom of speech that included anything not liked by certain minorities was against these ideals. Consequently, if a person talks of nationalism, he is said to be obsessed with hyper-nationalism citing finesses of patriotism and nationalism or anyone who talks for similar treatment to all citizens with no appeasement to particular communities or groups,is declared communal by the same set of people. Consequently, they have no issues if some groups or people openly talk about breaking away with the Republic or even involve in disruptive activities with the same goal, and in fact covertly engage themselves to incite and strengthen such elements.

Jaipal Singh
01-Jan-2019 08:33 AM

Comment Very rightly written and explained Jaipal. The left wing leaned people consider themselves as intellectuals. Many of them indulge in to anti-national representations and show rebellion attitude to the nationalist movements and activities. The sad part is that the others so called intellectuals also join them in raising their voice against the national interests and against those who are are taking stading for the interest of India. In BJP’s regime, all such people have now got a low profile (even Mr Naseeruddin Shah) then how can they accept a nationalist leader like Mr Narendra Modi. The irony is that the media also sometimes favour them. 8th75

Shailja bhattacharya
31-Dec-2018 08:04 AM

Name *
Email ID
 (will not be published)
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.