Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Sedition in India

In October, Indian author Arundhati Roy gave a speech [PDF] in New Delhi in which she said "Kashmir has never been an integral part of India". Thanks to those words, she has been charged with sedition, and is potentially facing life imprisonment.

Its important to note that it is not the government doing this. The charges have been filed at the behest of militant Hindu nationalists, who went to court to force the police to accept their complaint. Which shows you how disreputable the whole idea of sedition is: an instrument used by those with strong views (in this case nationalists) to persecute anyone who disagrees with them.

Such a law has no place in a civilised democracy. New Zealand repealed its sedition law in 2007. If India wants to take its place as a respected world power, it must do the same.