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It seems like it’s easier to file a sedition case in India than file one’s tax returns. A few days after headlines screamed about a sedition case against Amnesty International in Bangalore, a sedition case was filed against actress-turned-politician Ramya by a lawyer in Somwarpet, Karnataka for her anti-national remarks which reportedly constitute of saying that ‘Pakistani citizens are like Indians’.
She’s in August company and sedition cases were filed against a host of politicians including Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kerjriwal, Yechury, Anand Sharma, Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid in Sarnoogar, Telangana at the height of the JNU row. Kejriwal is a veteran in this field and a case was filed against him for his ‘psycho’ tweet against PM Modi as well. The truth is that almost anyone can file a sedition case, including private individuals, state and central governments.
The current sedition case was filed by advocate K Vittala Gowda filed the complaint before Somwarpet Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) court, which admitted it and posted it for hearing on August 27. In the complaint, Gowda accused the multi-lingual actress of “insulting” India and “provoking” people by appreciating Pakistan which is a “traditional enemy of India.” After a recent visit to Islamabad as part of a SAARC delegation of young lawmakers, Ramya had reportedly said at a meeting in Mandya, which she represented from 2013 to 2014 in Lok Sabha, “Pakistan is not hell. People there are just like us. They treated us very well.”
Her remarks came as a veiled counter to comments of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who while lashing out at Islamabad for promoting terror, had said last week, “going to Pakistan is same as going to hell.” Ramya replied in the negative when asked whether she would apologise. “I don’t think I am wrong.
“This is the state of affairs in this country today. Sedition is being slapped against anyone and anybody who is entitled to an opinion which should not be the case,” she said.
She accused BJP of trying to curb freedom of expression. “I think that as an individual I should be allowed to air or express my thoughts, views and opinions. I think BJP government is trying to curb that.” She said other parties could also misuse sedition law and file cases against BJP leaders because of the “bizarre” statements some of them were making which were “seditious” but they do not do it and instead engage them in discussions.
Tanmay Bhat ✔ @thetanmay
“Hum chloromint kyu khate ha-”
“SEDITION!” dips face in water
3:22 PM – 23 Aug 2016
42 42 Retweets 128 128 likes
Ramya also said the BJP “right now” would not do anything to repeal the sedition law as it using it to its advantage. How the BJP Is using the sedition charge, is still a mystery but we will let that pass for now.
As Ramya’s remarks triggered a bitter backlash on social media and BJP and ABVP workers staged protests terming her remarks “anti-national”, the actress stood her ground in Bengaluru today.
The complaint has sought a direction to police to book Ramya, an ex-Congress MP, under IPC sections 124(a) (sedition), 344 (wrongful confinement for ten or more days) and 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment).
Shekhar Gupta ✔ @ShekharGupta
If Cong so detests misuse of sedition as it claims, all its govt in K’taka needs to do is instruct its police not to entertain such idiocy
6:54 PM – 23 Aug 2016 · New Delhi, India, India
115 115 Retweets 90 90 likes
Congress sought to turn tables on BJP over its attack on actress-turned-politician Ramya, contending that if wanting better ties with Pakistan was sedition then the first case should be lodged against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said that the second case should be filed against BJP veteran L K Advani for praising Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Such cases should also be filed against all former Prime Ministers, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, for advocating peace between India and Pakistan, he said. Surjewala advised BJP and its leaders to refrain from playing petty politics and look at more serious issues facing the country.
The Congress reaction came after a private complaint in a court in Somwarpet in Kodagu district of Karnataka sought action on sedition and other charges against 33-year-old Ramya for “insulting” Indian patriots by her remark that “Pakistan is not hell”. The issue kicked up a controversy with questions being raised over invoking a colonial-era law to curb free speech.
Ramya’s remarks triggered a bitter backlash on social media and BJP and ABVP workers staged protests terming her remarks “anti-national”, the actress stood her ground and ruled out tendering any apology, saying she has not said anything wrong.
With inputs from agencies