Need to strengthen sedition law

I am all for retaining of the sedition law in the country. It is time we strengthen these laws or at least, implement them fully. The meaning of sedition also needs to be enlarged to increase treason, if we have to retain the integrity of the country.

There are people who make speeches from public platforms condemning the country. Even politicians of different hues have been indulging in anti-national activities.
 
There is widespread Maoism in various parts of the country, and the happenings of Malda and Purnea are too recent to be forgotten. Suicide by a student, a sympathiser of Yakub Menon who was involved in 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai in which over 200 people had died and around 700 were injured, in the University of Hyderabad was blown out to be a national calamity by the vested political parties.

In contrast to this, the suicide by thousands of farmers in various parts of the country makes a few lines of news in the national media and newspapers.
 
We are virtually fighting an undeclared war along the western border. Despite very friendly intentions of the present government, we had an attack on Pathankot. Should some mole or abettor of this attack say that he was using his freedom of expression?

We are quite aware of the revelations of David Hadley, and also it has come out almost openly through the statement of former CBI director as to how certain political parties can go to any length to score a victory over their opponents.

The freedom of expression has been used to such an extent that the Rajya Sabha has not been able to function in the last session.

Important national issues which impact all of us and the economy of the country and the poor, are getting mired in the political morass. Sometimes, the citizens wonder whether our democratic institutions are conducting themselves for the purpose for they are meant.

Pockets of strife
There are pockets of strife in the country; most notably Kashmir, where there are constant problems regarding security and integrity of our country.

The terrorists from across the border at times derive support from the local population, some of which has divisive tendencies. Sometimes, our officers and soldiers are tricked into believing that the terrorists are ready to surrender and they get gunned down.

Not many hold JNU in high esteem. Many feel that the university has become the breeding ground for militants and anti-national elements. I agree that everyone will not be like that, but the good voices have got submerged. Has it really produced outstanding people in any field of learning or research is an open question.

Abuse of free speech
The room rent is said to be Rs 20 per month and the annual fee is Rs 220; the subsidy on each student is said to be Rs 3 lakh per year. Contrast this with the cost of education in western world. The country can ill-afford to do all this to have some degenerate thinking.

Freedom of expression does not mean that one can abuse someone, more so the country. It does not mean that one can encourage divisive forces. It does not mean that one can run down the esteemed judicial institutions and call the death sentence upheld by it as ‘judicial killing’. It does not mean that one can burn pictures of gods and goddesses to incite violence or to inflict pain.

Mercifully. the Delhi Police has acted on the anti-national people who were involved in JNU. If allowed to do their job without hindrance, they and other agencies will be able to make a dent in the Naxal and terrorist activities.

It may lead to unearthing of considerable information and the networks and the sympathisers. We have seen how there have been constant problems with terrorism across the country over the past 30 years.

Millions of poor people of the country need food, clothing, shelter and security. It is at their cost that we are subsidising the students in JNU. The mood of the nation is very tense. People will not tolerate anti-national activities.

Under these situations there is an urgent need for all of us not only to contain our freedom of expression, but also to weigh our words which should be in favour of national integrity and its security. 

(The writer is former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Karnataka)

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