Friday, March 07, 2014

Sedition: Absurdity in India

Those who support sedition laws justify them on the need to protect the state from traitors and terrorists. In practice, such laws are used to criminalise opposition to the government of the day. But in India, its gone from the evil to the absurd, with 67 Kashmiri students charged with sedition for cheering for the wrong cricket team:

The police in northern India have filed sedition charges against 67 Kashmiri students after some of them cheered for the Pakistani cricket team during a televised match with India on Sunday night.

The charges were filed Tuesday following an official complaint against the students by Manzoor Ahmed, vice chancellor of Swami Vivekanand Subharti University in Meerut, according to M. M. Baig, a Meerut police official. In addition to sedition charges, the students were charged with “instigating hate between two communities.”

And that's what sedition is at its heart: a means of enforcing public loyalty to governments which deserve none.

The charges have now been dropped, but the students have been indefinitely suspended from their university. Freedom of speech? Not in India.