Freedom of speech became a debatable issue in India during the regime of Modi government. From 2014, criticism against any government policy or step becomes the activity of anti-national. Nobody dares to speak against the authority. Even in Indian constitution, article 19 guarantees the right “to freedom of speech and expression.” However, the constitution also allows the government to limit freedom of expression “in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.”
However, a new discourse started in present India which claims that speaking against ruling government is against the ethics of the country. Because, the PM is working day and night for the development of the country. Elections are near, and the divisive forces can use any method to create the debate of nationalism among people.There were so many issues that occurred in India, which was a threat to BJP to loss the election of 2019. The emergence of congress from three states became a threat to the ruling government, because Rahul Gandhi created the debate of Rafael deal. Besides that,Amendment of citizenship bill, 10% reservation bill for general category, 13-point roaster and young India Adikhar march on February 07, 2019 created a widespread movement in all over India. the government did not respond to these issues and remain mere spectators till 14th February. After that, the debate of nationalism started again in India, hatemongers wanted war, some wanted to isolate Pakistan and soon.
On 14th February 2019, A CRPF convoy was attacked with suicidal bomb, in which 49 Crpf persons lost their lives and 36 were injured. It was unfortunate and needs condemnations from all over world. After, the attack, the discourse changed all over India. the orthodox Hindus started attacking the Kashmiri students, businessmen and tourists all over India. There were placards which were having slogans “Kashmiri go Back, and Dogs are allowed but not Kashmiri”. However, no political party condemned it and dared strict action against these people, who wanted to disturb peace and harmony in the country. In contrast, any Kashmiri student, who liked or commented on social media were labelled with sedition charges or were either restricted from their colleges. The question is that why sedition charges is only for Kashmiri students… what their crime is. If freedom of speech and expression is granted by the constitution of India, why only section is using it and why not others. There were a lot of incidents that were happened from past one week, in which most of the students were restricted from universities on sedition charges. On the other side there are some Hindutva forces led, who are using their freedom in creating venom against the Kashmiri. However, no sedition charges were labelled against them.
The question arises, why the Kashmiri students are targeted every time, from cricket match to the killing of solider, the students and business men had to face consequences. If India claims that Kashmir is our integral part, but the confusion is there that it includes the people of Kashmir or not. The spread of hate and attacking on Kashmiri students would not be fruitful to India. there are claims that there is radicalization in the valley but is not India who forces youth towards it. The recent example of Dehradun students, who were asked to fled back to home. It was Khalsa aid, who helped them. The reaction came immediately, all services were giving free to Sikh community in the Kashmir valley. It is good gesture as well as lesson to the rest of India that there is a huge difference between the people of Kashmir and rest of India in term of humanity. Besides being attacked, the Kashmiri people maintained restraint and did not harassed the non-Kashmiri people there and the put a lesson to the rest of India that Kashmiris can be won by love not by hate.
Inamul Haq is Research Scholar at the Central University of Gujarat