Sedition charges against JNU students ‘deplorable’: KCSDS

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) on Thursday deplored the slapping of the sedition charges against nine students including seven from Kashmir.
“It is a draconian and obscurantist law which has been done away with in the civilized countries of the world but is followed religiously by the authoritarian government to ensure its supremacy,” KCSDS said in a statement.
They said 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 which challenge its regressive agenda, ossified thinking, flawed and absurd definition of nationalism. Kashmiri students in particular and Dalits and marginalised, 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 and cruel tacticsm,” they said.
KCSDS is of the opinion that the government is desperate to create new narratives to polarise 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,” they said.
“The accused are a perfect combination of red rags to the bull and in their estimate would fetch them votes. But if last assembly elections are any guide, people have woken up from the hypnotised state in which they were cast by communal rhetoric of the government and seen what they actually need,” they said.
“The poison which it injected through its sponsored TV channels against Kashmir is not going to fetch them votes. Afzal Guru commemoration event which has triggered all this, is a judicial murder in the absence of material facts against him as opined by the greatest legal luminary of India. Hence this is simply to fuel the communal cauldron to boil for votes,” KCSDS added.
“We appeal all saner voices in India to rise against this use of state power against innocent students and pressurise the government to withdraw these false charges. The student community must oppose this very strongly and demand unqualified freedom of speech and expression. Needless to say freedom of speech does not mean freedom to speak which pleases the state but that which also offends, disturbs and confronts the state narrative,” they added. (KNS)