Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) Thursday condemned sedition charges against nine Jawhar lal Nehru students including seven from Kashmir.
In statement issued KCSDS said sedition law is a draconian and obscurantist law which has been done away with in the civilized countries of the world.
“The question of free speech is anathema to it in spite of the fact that Supreme Court defends free speech even if it offends or disturbs the state. The policies that the present federal government has been pursuing to plug all dissent by taking recourse to persecution of people through arrests, arbitrary prolonged detentions and long drawn legal battles are aimed at controlling and establishing their absolute hegemony on all institutions and more so on universities and colleges so that no ethically sound ideas flourish in a freely available democratic space,” reads the statement.
KCSDS said Kashmiri students in particular and Dalits and marginalized, disempowered religious minorities in India, in general, are targeted not only to scare them away from participation in democratic debates and discussions, and raising of genuine issues of moral and political nature but to silence them through “illegitimate” tactics.
“Government of India is desperate to create new narratives to polarize people in the name of nationalism to win 2019 elections. Hence it had to reinvent a three year old case which was already demystified and found wanting in substance.”
KCSDS said saner voices in India to rise against this use of state power against innocent students and pressurize the government to withdraw thee false charges.
“The student community must oppose this very strongly and demand unqualified freedom of speech and expression.”