Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) had gathered on the third anniversary of terrorist Afzal Guru’s execution and had allegedly shouted statements that went against the concept of Indian state. They had allegedly called for ‘breaking India into pieces and asked for Afzal to be born from every home’ ending with shouting few verses (which has got nothing to do with religion). Of these, Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid along with few other students had been arrested. Rahul Gandhi and several political leaders descended into the JNU campus, to express their solidarity with students who were alleged to have called for breaking India and for re-surging terrorism. ‘Freedom of Expression’ were the words in the mouth of every self-confessed intellectuals and liberals. Newsrooms were blaring with shouts of politicians and activists labeling the Modi government as Fascist, the JNU incident as Emergency and the students as innocents.
Kamlesh Tiwari had been arrested too in December with NSA invoked against him. He is behind bars till now. No Rahul Gandhi or Sitaram Yechury visited him. No news studios supported him. Let us not jump to conclusion about our intellectuals and liberals here, ‘Freedom of Expression’ were the words in their mouth, but I’m not sure where their mouth was. The whole bunch of FoEktards were busy doing something else when Malda was burning, when Muzaffarnagar was brimming and when Tiwari was probably hiding in the corner of his cellar anticipating his death.
Now, who are these FoEktards?
FoEktards is the portmanteau of Freedom of Expression and retards. This newly coined term denotes the set of self-confessed alleged liberals and activists who implement the Freedom of Expression concept in a selective manner, partly due to their agenda and mostly due to their pusillanimous attitude towards particular religions and thereby appearing as retards before our eyes.
According to FoEktards, Kamlesh Tiwari belongs to a Hindu organisation and hence, whatever criticism he has for any other religion will fall directly under Hate Speech. Sakshi Maharaj and Sadhvi Niranjan’s words describing any other religion become an incendiary Hate speech. Amit Shah’s call for vote becomes Hate Speech.
For these FoEktards, a group of students calling for breaking India and resurgence of terrorism falls under Love Speech. Because they belong to Leftist groups and by birth, they have every right to criticise anyone.
Criticising Hinduism and any other religion must be allowed under the real Freedom of Expression (not the crap that our FoEktards peddle). And the one who criticises religions can be of any religion or consider himself irreligious. But for the FoEktards, they have every right to criticise religions (only Hinduism) but a Hindu cannot and should not criticise religions (Islam or Christianity). That is why they batted for M.F.Hussain but didn’t even batted their eyelids for Sitaram Goel. Husain’s story is known to almost any Indian, but the historian Sitaram Goel was hounded and put behind bars for publishing a well researched book. That is why these FoEktards hadn’t cried Freedom of Expression for Sanal Edamaraku or Salman Rushdie or Charlie Hebdo, but it is all over the news in case of JNU student’s arrest.
If calls for ‘Breaking India’ and ‘Resurgence of terrorism’ can be shown as Freedom of Expression, then the ‘Hate speeches’ of Kamalesh Tiwari, Sakshi Maharaj and any other Hindu group must also fall under Freedom of Expression.
Religion > India??
Kamlesh Tiwari was charged with 295A of the Indian Penal Code (Hate Speech in religious grounds), which is indirectly the Indian form of Blasphemy law. JNU students are charged with Sedition. Our FoEktards support the arrest of Kamlesh on grounds of Hate Speech but oppose the Sedition laws.
By opposing sedition law and by being a muted audience to Indian form of blasphemy laws, are our liberals and intellectuals sending a message that they consider religions to be greater than India? If a group of religious people can be offended by anti-religious statements of someone, then can’t a group of nationalist people be offended by anti-national statements of someone? If our liberals consider that only religious people (particularly Muslims and Christians) have the right to get offended and not the nationalist Indians (which includes anyone who considers themselves), do they consider those two religions above India? If the Indian government must arrest Sakshis and Sadhvis for shouting against other religious people and the same Indian government must not arrest Kumars and Khalids for shouting against other Indians, does it not send a message that our liberals do not respect India as much as they love those religions?
If our media and liberals demand insulation for religions from criticism, why can’t we extend the same to our nation? How could it be that ‘a religion can enjoy silencing its detractors but a nation cannot’?
Victims of Blasphemy law:
If you want Sedition laws in India to be removed but do not say so for ‘Hate speech in religious grounds’ law, then please take a deep look at the below table. The term Perpetrator is used because section 295A of Indian Penal Code identifies the person exercising his Freedom of Expression as a perpetrator of crime.
The above table has been constructed with the help of Wikipedia article on ‘Hate Speech laws in India‘. I might have missed few more incidents involving hate speech in religious grounds. For a short brief on its history, the 295A was brought in force by British in 1927 after Muslims called for a Blasphemy law following the publication of Rangila Rasul book.
Absolute Freedom of Expression must be the end point of human struggles for Freedom. But, it is impossible to be practically applied in the present situation, that too for a country like India, which is surrounded by enemies on all sides. As of now, I would prefer Sedition law to remain albeit with few changes, like, removing the word ‘Government’ from it so that governments can be opposed from inside but not India and by applying it for criminals who wage war against India and urge for its breakup or secession. But, ‘hate speech in religion’ aka blasphemy laws must go away, as soon as possible.
Ending this post with a ‘This is Bill’ styled meme featuring Kamlesh Tiwari and our FoEktards: