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Anti National – The WHAT and WHO of it.

No government would act against the national sentiment and willingly grant Azadi to Kashmir , but the opinion of the dissenters does not make them anti-national.
Peoples Voice on March 13, 2016 - 12:32 pm in Politics

These are the burning issue dividing the nation. The RSS-BJP combine claim that the slogan ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ is anti-national, to shout Afzal Guru Zindabad is anti-national and to say that Kashmir should be given Azadi or that. Kashmir is under India’s occupation is anti-national. That’s not all . They think that it is their right to punish the guilty. The contrary view is that they are not anti-national and it is the right of the people to hold and express such opinions. None of the holders of the opposite views are enemies of India or agents of Pakistan. Whose opinion is correct ? What is the basis of deciding the question ?

India is a democracy committed to the rule of law. It means that nobody who has not violated a law can be punished. It also means that the law should be sufficiently publicised to tell the people what they can or cannot do and what consequences would follow if they violate the law. Let us apply these criteria for judging what is anti-national.

1. Is there a law , which says that to raise the slogan ‘ Chin Zindabad, America Zindabad , UK Zindabad, Australia Zindabad are legal but shouting Pakistan Zindabad is Treason ( Desh Droh ) and a person guilty of the offence would be awarded a term in jail ?

2. Similarly , is there a law which makes shouting Afzal Guru Zindabad or that his execution was a murder a punishable offence as Treason

3. Kashmir is a problem which has cost India men, money and strain on its resources. Do the citizens have a right to apply their mind to the problem and express their views even if they are against the popular view ?
Again if there is no law that to say that Kashmir should be given aazadi is Treason, how can a citizen be called a Desh Drohi or punished for raising the slogans .

THE FATE OF KASHMIR WILL BE DECIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA , WHICH REPRESENTS THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE. BUT THE CITIZENS HAVE A RIGHT TO TELL THEIR GOVERNMENT WHAT THEY THINK .

Yes , such ideas outrage the nationalistic sentiments of a very large number of Indians , but the sentiments cannot make these slogans a crime. National sentiments show considerable variation on the question of cesession of territory. Just a few months back UK held a refrendum in Scotland and gave the choice to the people of Scotland to decide whether they want to remain in the UK or want to be out of it. The majority was in favour of remaining in the UK. Is the Cameron governmet anti-national ? A similar refrendum was held in Quebec, a state in Canada where the larger number of the people are French. There also the majority chose to stay in Canada .

The governments in the UK and Canada are not anti-national but democratic since the people there are democratic. Since we do not have the developed and enlightened sensibility of the English and the Canadians we react differently. No government would act against the national sentiment and willingly grant Azadi to Kashmir , but the opinion of the dissenters does not make them anti-national.

Gandhiji’s murder has been celebrated by the Hindu Maha Sabh, the day his murderer was hanged is celebrated as Martyr’s Day by them. They have announced their plan to build Mandir in which Godse’s statue would be installed. It outrages a very large number of Indians , but since it is no crime they cannot be punished. And an outraged sentiment does not give the followers and devotees of Gandhi to do to them what was done in the JNU case by the BJP government and the BJP affiliates.

IF THE RSS-BJP CONSIDER IT NECESSARY ,THEY SHOULD COME UP WITH THEIR IDEA OF NATIONALISM AND ANTI-NATIONALISM AND ENACT AN APPROPRIATE LAW, AND LET THE LAW DO THE REST INSTEAD OF LETTING LOOSE THE STATE AGENCIES AND THEIR OWN BRIGADES ON THE PEOPLE .

Prabhakar Sinha
National President, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

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