Should the JNU students who raised anti-India slogans be charged with sedition?
A few days ago students at Jawaharlal Nehru University were raising anti-India slogans. Students at the JNU had organised a cultural event by the name of “A country without a post office”. There is video recording of some JNU students raising anti-India slogans and hailing Pakistan. They were praising Afzal Guru and they were saying that they won’t rest until they have broken India completely. Some newspapers and TV channels are saying that such things “allegedly” happened but these things actually happened and there are recordings of people chanting slogans in favour of Pakistan and Afzal Guru and about breaking India into smaller pieces.
Afzal Guru, known as one of the main masterminds behind the terrorist attack on the Parliament in December 2001, was hanged for his crime on February 9, 2013.
There were many activists, extremist organisations and left-liberals who were opposed to the idea of hanging Afzal Guru due to their individual reasons. The JNU is the hotbed of such movements and opinions. The University is known for its support for violent anti-government and anti-establishment movements. The institution is the darling of left-liberals, intellectuals and Communists precisely for this reason. Many known communist leaders have gotten their initial training in leftism from JNU.
JNU students shouting anti-India slogans and pro-Pakistan slogans were videoed and the videos were distributed all over the Internet, forcing even the mainstream media TV news channels to cover the controversy.
A few student leaders have been arrested and charged with sedition. They have been accused of anti-nationalism.
Consequently, the debate has been polarised between 2 groups: one group says that the government has done the right thing by cracking down on such anti-national elements and nipping in the bird the radicalisation of an institution of (dis?)repute.
The other group says that even if the students were raising anti-India slogans, they should have been ignored because after all, students do these sorts of things and besides, even if they were shouting anti-India slogans, they were exercising their freedom of expression. An intra-JNU disciplinary action would have been sufficed. By cracking down on the students the issue has been blown out of proportion and on the contrary, the idea the government was trying to suppress has gained more strength by turning those students into martyrs.
This has been the main argument against the arrest of the students: the students will be students and they should have been left to their devices and soon the entire controversy would have faded without giving rise to a national debate and highlighting the issue to such an extent.
What do I think? Has the government done the right thing by arresting those fellows or has it needlessly created a mountain out of a mole hill?
I think both the sides are right and wrong. The students, although criticised, shouldn’t have been arrested. They should have been shamed. They should have been exposed. If there were some political interests that were egging them on, those political interests should have been exposed. But arrest them? I don’t think so.
But even if they have been arrested, I don’t think this is going to strengthen the very idea the government is trying to curb, that is, turning a terrorist into a hero. The controversy will die down soon. Yes, the rage against the students have been mitigated to an extent by their arrest in certain quarters, but most of these quarters are not driven by genuine ideology. These quarters are self-serving interests who are least bothered by what happens to the students. They are raising voice because it’s their job. Their careers and money-making opportunities depend on promoting such voices of dissent in the country. They are paid by foreign countries to maintain an atmosphere of unrest within the country.
Besides, a strong message must be sent to the students also. They should learn to respect the law of the land. Just because you support terrorists and extremists doesn’t mean that it is a free for all situation in the country. You can’t openly support terrorists who murder people, it is simply not done. If you want to launch a war against your own country, you do it from somewhere else, not from within the country otherwise you are going to have to face the consequences. Don’t expect protection from a country you are waging a war upon. Not all students are innocent. Remember that most of the ISIS terrorists are somewhat of the same age and they slit throats of their captives as if slicing carrots for dinner.
So in both ways it’s no big deal. A decisive message needed to be sent, and it has been sent. Yes, the message could have also been sent without involving the police but then police was involved, too bad. Other than that, no harm has been done, either way.