Freedom gone bananas!

The ‘honourable’ minister for Haj (UP), Haji Yakub Qureshi, calls for the Danish cartoonists head with a reward of 51 crores, and the Government of UP – and the Central Government, does nothing. The Shiv Sena goes on rampage in Nalla Sopara – a suberb of greater Mumbai – and again apart from feeble apologies from the Sena – there is nothing to suggest that the Sena is going to pay for disrupting Civil Society. Somehow, the incitement to violence by politicians gets excused under the ‘freedom to express’ guaranteed by the Constitution. But, maybe it is time to throw the book at a few to ensrue that we all don’t end up sufferering for their irresponsibility. I know that there are those who disagree on the idea of responsibility being an integral part of a citizen’s behaviour. And the fact that responsibility as citizens also means a certain degree of self restraint. But, it is time to throw the book at those who behave irresponsibly. And hit them where it hurts – with the full might of the legal system against those who want to disrupt our lives and our basic and fundamental freedoms. I would really like to see the "honourable’ minister arrested, tried and sentanced for incitement to murder, and the SP fined like crazy for inflicting a person like this on the people of India. And I would like to see the goons in Shiv Sena being jailed and the party itself? fined out of their ample coffers for the? disruption to our civic lives. Maybe a few such ‘examples’ will make us a safer society

12 Replies to “Freedom gone bananas!”

  1. This is just like that famous case “Hustler Magazine v Falwell”.

    The question is, does anyone reasonably beleive that this is plausible? I guess not. So laugh. Look at those who elected him. Laugh more. Think of yourself as a citizen of that country. Laugh further. Thats all there is to it.

  2. actually nilu, India is slowly changing. a lot of ordinary people are challenging the might of the established. It isn’t as much or as fast as it ought to be, but it is there.

    i have been back in India for the last 11 years, and there has been a sea change in terms of awareness.

    the PIL’s that have been filed have been by ordinary indians against both. the number of ordinary people who have spoken up against both instances is phenomenal

    and, the most important thing of all is this, in India we still use the vote to punish those who have failed us. Hopefully in Maharashtra that would mean a rout for the SS in the forthcoming elections.

    UP unfortunately is another story. But Bihar threw out Laloo and his goons, hopefully the people of UP would mete a similar treatment to the Samajwadi party.

    But, i buy your point, this change is not as fast as we want it to be.

  3. Hi Harini,
    Had been following your blog since sometime. You write well on the social issues. Keep it up.

    No updates on your next assignment similar to Dial One show ?

  4. They did respond well by holding the whole Valentine bash again and challenging the Sena . The Sena is weakening rapidly and its idea of disruptive politics will not cut the cake for long. You are right mam, when you say that the people are changing. This current generation has a quite self confidence about it which is slowly reflecting in their behaviour. Things will change slowly but surely.

  5. Harini,

    What the UP minister did was not an expression of freedom, it was an incitement to murder. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right. Incitement to murder is a crime under the Indian Penal Code. It is not about freedom of expression at all, it is whether a holder of constitutional office can get away with a dangerous crime.

    Indian citizens can freely criticize anything that offends them. They can write op-eds, blogs, newspaper articles, even organise protest marches or hunger strikes. They cannot resort to violence. They cannot damage other’s property. They cannot take lives (including their own). They certainly cannot ask other people to kill. These are all crimes.

    The conceptual simplicity of it stands out against the cynical complexity that is necessary to obfuscate it.

  6. Hi Nehal
    welcome to this blog and thank you.
    There are a few projects in the pipleline. as soon as the contracts are inked and production begins, I will blog about them.
    one of them is interactive !

  7. hi harsh
    i am glad that people came out to protest and defied those who seek to reduce our individual freedoms.
    and i hope that things change faster than they are. I really would like to see more ‘ordinary’ citizens participating as watchdogs in society

  8. Hi Nitin
    Actually it is both. He has the freedom to express his thoughts. but if he breaks the law by that expression (as he has), he has to pay the price for it. We see the former in society, but very rarely do we see the latter.

    My problem is that extremists of all shades use the basically liberal frame work of society to use words that either provoke violence or indeed death. Unfortunately the State, for what ever reason has not held them accountable for their statements or actions. And if all of us as members of civil society, don’t see the state coming down hard on trespasses of this nature – there is no incintive for us to follow rules.

    Of course in the case of the ‘honourable’ minister – the fact that UP elections are looming, and the Samajwadi Party is in a similar state to the RJD in Bihar -i htink that he his electioneering. And i hope that the EC does something decisive against both him and his party. I was personally apalled when Lallo campaigned with an Osama look alike. And I was horrified that he & his party were not reprimanded or fined. I hope this time around it is different.

  9. If i started a religion, drafted some rules, and in 25 years had as many followers as AOL Ravi Shankar, and said according to rule no. 102.a of my religion I should kill the Prime Minister of the day no one would dare oppose that. The right to religion in India weighs heavier than the the laws against incitement to muder and whatever. which is pathetic. we are less democratic more populist.

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