Sedition Law Being Misused

HDK – playing caste politics

FORMER CHIEF MINISTERS of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah (Cong) and H.D. Kumara swamy (JD-S) have been charged with sedition for their comments about the BJP government in the State, a news report said.

It also said 23 leaders of the Congress and the JD(S), booked in the same case, included former Karnataka State Congress chief Dinesh Gundurao and ex-Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameswara. Also charged were nine police officials who did not take action on them.

This should certainly be condemned by all as it not only demonises normal protest and political activity but also strengthens the charge of intolerance levelled against the Narendra Modi’s party by its detractors.

The dictionary defines sedition as “conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.” The synonyms of sedition are: incitement (to rebellion or riot), agitation, rabble-rousing, fomentation (of discontent), troublemaking, inflaming, or provocation.
The case is not related to Kumaraswamy calling the BJP anti-Vokkaliga (community of Gowdas to which he belongs) and Siddaramaiah dubbing it to be against his caste of Kurubas (shepherd). Such communalism is considefed normal in our elections if it comes from ‘liberal. secular’ leaders, but BJP talking of Hinduism is communal.

The Commercial Street Police registered an FIR on a complaint by A. Mallikarjun, said to be an activist, alleging sedition. The politicians and policemen were booked under many IPC sections as a court ordered the same on November 22. The police officers booked included the ex -Police Commissioner of Bengaluru, T.Suneel Kumar, the ex-DCP (East) Rahul Shadpurwad, and Deveraju, who was DCP (Central). Police filed a non-cognisable offence first but he went to court and got the order. “We are (only) enforcing court orders,” they said.

Mallikarjun alleged that Kumaraswamy, the then Chief Minister, violated the law as the IT Department “informed Kumaraswamy about the raids but he leaked the information to the media,” Mallikarjun’s complaint said. The information on the Mandya IT raids was leaked even before they occurred. The Congress-JD(S) alliance had violated the model code of conduct ahead of the Lok Sabha elections by staging a protest outside IT office in Bengaluru on March 27, falsely alleging the Department was acting as BJP agents. The ex-COP and other officers abetted “these seditious activities” by not taking any action against them for this, he alleged.

A day after the protest, former Mandya JD(S) MP C.S. Puttararaju’s home was raided. Kumaraswamy alleged the BJP was using the IT Department to target JD(S) leaders in Mandya campaigning for his son Nikhil, the Congress-JD(S) coalition candidate.

Sedition is a serious charge. Using it against those who made political charges, held protests or wrote Facebook posts is like charging a journalist with “using a sharp, pointed weapon” (pen) to kill (the reputation of) someone.

The only purpose achieved by these cases is to add to the “criminal charges” candidates were forced to “disclose” in affidavits while filing nominations and the “candidates with criminal charges” in the elections. A majority of MPs and MLAs in India must be facing cases. Many of them, includig hardcore criminals, get re-elected and most cases drag on for decades.

It is rarely that distiction is made between real crime cases and these motivated political cases that never come to trial. They cannot even be used to stop hardcore criminals from contesting. No Nagpurian considers Devendra Fadnavis a criminal but he is summoned to a court for not disclosing soCommunalme such cases while filing nomination, but Pappu Yadavs and Raja Bhayyas contest successfully. Such cases are meant only for harrassment of rival candidates – not real criminals.

‘Communal’ Yeddy

The Election Commission had filed case against Karnataka CM B.S. Yediyurappa over ‘casteist’ speeches. But HDK can allege the Centre was “anti-Vokkaliga” because of raids on D.K. Shivakumar whose public image, as far as corruption is concerned, is nothig to be pround of and Siddaramaiah can say BJP was anti-Kurubua because a road or squar named after Kanakadasa was being renamed as it was forgotten.

Names of most roads, squares and statues are forgotten, But not the political immorality, caste or leaders’ criminal cases.
Coerction, cash and caste still win elections in India.
Copyright © 2019 Someswar Bhagwat

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Over 60 years of writing for a living and two books later, I still find the urge to write unstoppable, even as 80 has arrived. Hope to write even on the last day. Will turn into ?

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