Sedition and politics: on the charge-sheeting of JNU students

 

 

 

Sedition and politics: on the charge-sheeting of JNU students

The charge-sheeting of JNU students is a move to criminalise contrarian opinion

The filing(दाखिल/मुकदमा) of sedition(देशद्रोह ) and conspiracy(साजिश) charges against three former Jawaharlal Nehru University students and seven others nearly three years after a political event( घटना) on its campus, is a needlessly(अनावश्यक रूप से) heavy-handed response to campus sloganeering(नारेबाजी). That it took so long to ready a charge sheet, which has been filed a few months ahead(आगे) of the general election(आम चुनाव), casts a shadow(छाया।) of political motive(राजनीतिक मकसद). It would have been far wiser to dismiss this as an instance( उदाहरण) of radicalised(कट्टरपंथी) student politics than proceed against them with a stringent(कठोर/कड़ी से कड़ी) colonial-era law, which should not have been allowed to even remain(बने रहें) in the statute book(क़ानून की किताब।). There is no convincing(ठोस/आश्वस्त करने वाला) case(मामला) that the students, and the others present, disrupted(बाधित/नाकाम करना) public order or incited(भड़काई) violence(हिंसा). Even if all the charges about the shouting of “anti-national”(राष्ट्र विरोधी) slogans(नारे) and supporting(समर्थन) those who questioned the country’s sovereignty(प्रभुत्व/संप्रभुता ) were true, these acts do not merit(योग्यता) the use of the sedition law(देशद्रोह कानून). The Delhi Police had arrested(गिरफ्तार) JNU student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar in February 2016, but failed to protect him from assault(हमला/धावा) while being produced in court; it did nothing to bring to book his assailants(छापा मारनेवाला/हमलावरों). Now, in filing formal charges of sedition, it continues to ignore the law laid down by the Supreme Court on what constitutes( गठन) ‘sedition’. The essential(आवश्यक ) ingredients(सामग्री) of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, that there should be a call for violence or a pernicious( भयावह) tendency(प्रवृत्ति/झुकाव) to foment public disorder(अव्यवस्था), are conspicuously(स्पष्ट रूप से) absent in the case.

Campuses(परिसर) on which radical(पूर्ण/उग्र) politics thrives(पनपती/कामयाब होना) are anathema(अभिशाप) to the ruling(सत्तारूढ़/आदेश) dispensation(वितरण). However, that cannot be a justification for the sort of fear-mongering(डर का व्यापार) about the direction of campus politics that the ruling party and its supporters(समर्थकों) have been indulging(लिप्त/तृप्त करना) in since the developments of 2016. Campuses ought to nurture political opinions of different shades(विभिन्न रंगों,), but there has been a disquieting(अयोग्य ) tendency(प्रवृत्ति) to brand as “anti-national” those who do not endorse(समर्थन/पुष्टि करना) all actions of the state. That the ABVP, the student wing of the RSS, has not done well in several student union elections may also be a factor in driving antipathy towards(ओर) some institutions. In every case of sedition, which is filed invariably(बेबदलता से/स्थिरता से) in connection with a dissenting(मतभेद करना/असंतोषपूर्ण ) speech or piece of writing, there is a political element(तत्व/अंग). In this case, the filing of the charge sheet appears(प्रकट होता है) to subserve(संरक्षित करने) the political and electoral purpose of advancing a populist nationalist agenda(कार्यावली). It is also liable to be seen as an attempt(प्रयास) to criminalise(अपराधीकरण ) contrarian(विरोधाभासी) views(विचार/दृष्टिकोण) among student activists and also a clampdown(शिकंजा कसना/दबंगई) on dissent(असंतोष ). It will be in the fitness of things if the trial court examines the Delhi Police report in the light of the Supreme Court’s restricted(वर्जित/प्रतिबंधित) interpretation(व्याख्या/विवेचन ) of sedition before it takes cognisance(संज्ञान/हस्तक्षेप)of it.

 

 

Important Vocabulary

1. Filing(दाखिल/मुकदमा)
Synonyms: enter, register, alphabetize, arrange, catalog
Antonyms: erase, disarrange, disorder, disorganize

2. Sedition(देशद्रोह )
Synonyms: insubordination, insurrection, mutiny, treason, agitation
Antonyms: obedience, calm, peace, submission

3.Conspiracy(साजिश)
Synonyms: plot, scheme, sedition, treason, cabal
Antonyms: faithfulness, honesty, ignorance, loyalty

4. Stringent(कठोर/कड़ी से कड़ी)
Synonyms: binding, demanding, draconian, exacting, forceful
Antonyms: amenable, calm, easy, easy-going, facile

5. Convincing(ठोस/आश्वस्त करने वाला)
Synonyms: authentic, cogent, conclusive, credible, impressive
Antonyms: implausible, impotent, improbable, ineffective, insignificant

6. Sovereignty(प्रभुत्व/संप्रभुता )
Synonyms: dominance, jurisdiction, supremacy, ascendancy, ascendant
Antonyms: submission

7. Violence(हिंसा)
Synonyms: assault, attack, bloodshed, brutality, clash, confusion
Antonyms: calm, health, kindnes, method, niceness

8. Incited(भड़काई)
Synonyms: abet, agitate, arouse, encourage, exhort
Antonyms: block, calm, dampen, depress, deter

9. Assailants(छापा मारनेवाला/हमलावरों).
Synonyms: aggressor, mugger, antagonist, assaulter, bushwhacker
Antonyms: ally, friend

10. Pernicious( भयावह)
Synonyms: damaging, dangerous, deadly, destructive, detrimental
Antonyms: advantageous, assisting, beneficial, benevolent, good

11. Conspicuously(स्पष्ट रूप से)
Synonyms: considerably, conspicuously, decidedly, greatly, notably
Antonyms: insignificantly, unremarkably, indistinctly, unmarkedly

12.Anathema(अभिशाप
Synonyms: bane, pariah, abomination, bugbear, detestation
Antonyms: love

13.Dissenting(मतभेद करना/असंतोषपूर्ण )
Synonyms: balk, contradict, demur, differ, argue
Antonyms: accept, agree, consent, approve, join

14. Subserve(संरक्षित करने
Synonyms: accept, attend, complete, follow, pass, perform
Antonyms: deny, disregard, fail, halt, ignore

15. Clampdown(शिकंजा कसना/दबंगई)
Synonyms: crackdown, embargo, repression, restriction
Antonyms: freedom

16. Restricted(वर्जित/प्रतिबंधित)
Synonyms: barred, blocked, closed, confined, controlled
Antonyms: free, unbounded

17. Interpretation(व्याख्या/विवेचन )
Synonyms: analysis, clarification, explanation, judgment, meaning
Antonyms: complication, ignorance, misconception, misunderstanding, release

18. cognizance(संज्ञान/हस्तक्षेप)
Synonyms: attention, bearing, cognition, grasp, heed
Antonyms: disregard, heedlessness, ignorance, inattention, indifference

 

 

Credit to The Hindu News Paper

The filing of sedition and conspiracy charges against three former Jawaharlal Nehru University students and seven others nearly three years after a political event on its campus, is a needlessly heavy-handed response to campus sloganeering. That it took so long to ready a charge sheet, which has been filed a few months ahead of the general election, casts a shadow of political motive. It would have been far wiser to dismiss this as an instance of radicalised student politics than proceed against them with a stringent colonial-era law, which should not have been allowed to even remain in the statute book. There is no convincing case that the students, and the others present, disrupted public order or incited violence. Even if all the charges about the shouting of “anti-national” slogans and supporting those who questioned the country’s sovereignty were true, these acts do not merit the use of the sedition law. The Delhi Police had arrested JNU student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar in February 2016, but failed to protect him from assault while being produced in court; it did nothing to bring to book his assailants. Now, in filing formal charges of sedition, it continues to ignore the law laid down by the Supreme Court on what constitutes ‘sedition’. The essential ingredients of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, that there should be a call for violence or a pernicious tendency to foment public disorder, are conspicuously absent in the case.

Campuses on which radical politics thrives are anathema to the ruling dispensation. However, that cannot be a justification for the sort of fear-mongering about the direction of campus politics that the ruling party and its supporters have been indulging in since the developments of 2016. Campuses ought to nurture political opinions of different shades, but there has been a disquieting tendency to brand as “anti-national” those who do not endorse all actions of the state. That the ABVP, the student wing of the RSS, has not done well in several student union elections may also be a factor in driving antipathy towards some institutions. In every case of sedition, which is filed invariably in connection with a dissenting speech or piece of writing, there is a political element. In this case, the filing of the charge sheet appears to subserve the political and electoral purpose of advancing a populist nationalist agenda. It is also liable to be seen as an attempt to criminalise contrarian views among student activists and also a clampdown on dissent. It will be in the fitness of things if the trial court examines the Delhi Police report in the light of the Supreme Court’s restricted interpretation of sedition before it takes cognisance of it.

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