I’m a human being. I was born on the earth of India. So, my identification is Indian. I respect my National Flag and I have grown up singing ‘Jan Gan Man’ as the National Anthem.
Although, My country has countless problems like corruption, unemployment. At times, I feel awful but I’m not the only one to feel so. There are many more people like me who holds the same nationality and feels the same.
Every now and then, I held the system responsible for all this because I have the ‘Freedom of Speech and Expression’ which is my fundamental right .
But I must not forget that this right has been given to me by my own country for my own convenience. Moreover, When it is about ‘Being National’, I would not give any right to any external force to provide any damage to my country.
In my opinion ‘A nationalist is a person with strong patriotic feelings, especially one who believes in the superiority of their country over others’. I, being a common citizen of my country , like others, love my country, even though, I have differences in my opinion from others at some level but when it is about nationalism , I proudly chant the song ‘Saare jahan se acha Hindustan humara’ (Our India is the best among the rest).
Our country is our habitat. It feeds us, We carry the nationality of our own country, We always want to see our country on peak . Everyone has differences of opinion, but it does not mean that we stand on the road and chant anti-national slogans.
Coming to what happened in JNU. A group of students raised anti-national slogans only because an event named ‘Against the judicial killing of the Afzal Guru’ which was organised by those so-called ‘nationalists’ was cancelled by the authority.
Chanting slogans is not wrong but chanting anti- national slogans is something that is beyond the pale. I’m not saying that people of our country does not have the right to express their views. They have the freedom of speech and expression but this right holds some restrictions also.
Freedom of Speech
Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India guarantees to all its citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression. The law states that, “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression”.
Under Article 19(2) “reasonable restrictions can be imposed on the exercise of this right for certain purposes. Any limitation on the exercise of the right under Article 19(1) (a) not falling within the four corners of Article 19(2) cannot be valid. Opinions freely by words of mouth, writing, printing, pictures or any other mode.
Free expression cannot be equated or confused with a license to make unfounded and irresponsible allegations against the judiciary. It is important to note that a restriction on the freedom of speech of any citizen may be placed as much by an action of the State as by its inaction. Thus, failure on the part of the State to guarantee to all its citizens irrespective of their circumstances and the class to which they belong, the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression would constitute a violation of Article 19(1)(a).
In a democracy, freedom of speech & expression opens up channels of free discussion of issues. Freedom of speech plays a crucial role in the formation of public opinion on social, economic & political matters. It embraces within its scope the freedom of propagation and interchange of ideas, dissemination of information which would help formation of one’s opinion & view point & debates on matters of public concern. So long as the expression is confined to nationalism, patriotism & love for the motherland, the use of National flag by the way of expression of those sentiments would be a Fundamental Right.
Grounds of Restrictions
1) Security of State: The term “security of state” refers only to serious and aggravated forms of public order e.g. rebellion, waging war against the State, insurrection and not ordinary breaches of public order and public safety, e.g. unlawful assembly, riot, affray. Thus speeches or expression on the part of an individual, which incite to or encourage the commission of violent crimes, such as, murder are matters, which would undermine the security of State.
2) Public Order: Here it is pertinent to look into meaning of the word “Public order. ‘Public order’ is synonymous with public peace, safety and tranquility. Anything that disturbs public tranquility or public peace disturbs public order. Thus communal disturbances and strikes promoted with the sole object of accusing unrest among workmen are offences against public order. Public order thus implies absence of violence and an orderly state of affairs in which citizens can peacefully pursue their normal avocation of life. Public order also includes public safety. Thus creating internal disorder or rebellion would affect public order and public safety. But mere criticism of government does not necessarily disturb public order.
3) The words ‘In the interest of public order’ includes not only such utterances as are directly intended to lead to disorder but also those that have the tendency to lead to disorder. Thus a law punishing utterances made with the deliberate intention to hurt the religious feelings of any class of persons is valid because it imposes a restriction on the right of free speech in the interest of public order.
4) Sovereignty and integrity of India- To maintain sovereignty and integrity of a state is prime duty of government. Taking into it into account, freedom of speech and expression can be restricted so as not to permit any one to challenge sovereignty or to permit any one to preach something which will result in threat to integrity of the country.
From above analysis, it is evident that Grounds contained in Article 19(2) show that they are all concerned with the national interest or in the interest of the society.
Now, coming back to what had happened in the JNU.
An event was organised whose title was ‘Judicial killing of the Afzal Guru’ , the permission of which was taken by giving false information to the JNU authority. When the authority came to know about the truth they cancelled the permission immediately.
To simplify the issue that what was wrong in organising the event, I gathered some facts about Afzal Guru which I have taken from Wikipedia.
Who was Afzal Guru?
Guru was born in Du Aabgah village near Sopore town in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir in 1969 to the family of Habibullah. His native place is Sopore and he was doing a commission agency business.
It was during this business venture that he came into contact with Tariq of Anantnag, who motivated him to join Jihad for the liberation of Kashmir. He crossed the Line of Control and proceeded to Muzaffarabad, Pak occupied Kashmir. He became a member of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front and then returned to Sopore shortly afterward to lead 300 rebels.
On a visit to Kashmir in 1998, he married a Baramulla native Tabasum. He did odd jobs and completed his graduation from Delhi University in the year 1993–94. Shaukat who was friend of Gilani, made Guru visit Geelani and they used to discuss Jihad and the “liberation” of Kashmir.
The 13 December 2001 attack was conducted into the Parliament. On 15 December 2001, the special cell of Delhi Police, with the help of leads relating to the car used and cellphone records, arrested Guru from Srinagar, his cousin Shaukat Husain Guru, Shaukat’s wife Afsan Guru (Navjot Sandhu before marriage) and S A R Gilani, a lecturer of Arabic at Delhi University were also arrested by the police. On 4 August 2005, the Supreme Court, upheld the death sentence for Afzal Guru while it commuted Shaukat Hussain Guru’s sentence from death to 10 years imprisonment.
In its judgement, the Supreme Court observed:
“As criminal acts took place pursuant to the conspiracy, the appellant, as a party to the conspiracy, shall be deemed to have abetted the offence. In fact, he took active part in a series of steps taken to pursue the objective of conspiracy.”
Supreme Court of India, Judgement on Appeal by Guru on August 5, 2005.
However, Some people believed that Afzal Guru didn’t receive a fair trial. Here are few details about these people.
I. Communist Party Of India (Marxist) leads the Left Front coalition of leftist parties.
II. Praful Bidwa (a well known face of left intellectual tradition in Indian media. He himself had taken part in various left-leaning regional movements in the past and was in long term association with them even after).
III. Arundhati Roy (An Indian author, In an August 2008 interview with the Times of India, Arundhati Roy expressed her support for the independence of Kashmir from India. According to her, Kashmiris desire secession from India, and not union with India.
Roy’s description of the Maoists as “Gandhians” raised a controversy. In other statements, she has described Naxalites as “patriot of a kind” who are “fighting to implement the Constitution, (while) the government is vandalising it”.
In November 2010, Roy, was brought up on charges of sedition by the Delhi Police. The filing of the First Information Report came following a directive from a local court on a petition filed by Sushil Pandit who alleged that Roy made anti-India speeches at a conference on “Azadi-the Only Way” on 21 October 2010. In the words of Arundhati Roy “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India”.
On 21 August 2011, at the height of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign, Arundhati Roy criticised Hazare and his movement in an opinion piece published in The Hindu.
In 2013, Roy described Narendra Modi’s nomination for the prime ministerial candidate as a “tragedy”.
At last, here is the case of the Afzal Guru in detail.
I. On 15 December 2001, the special cell of Delhi Police, with the help of leads relating to the car used and cellphone records, arrested Guru from Srinagar.
II. Police filed a charge-sheet in the case on 15 May 2002. The trial started after charges were framed against the four accused on 4 June 2002.
III. After his arrest, Guru made a confessional statement which bore his signature, recorded by the DCP, special cell. It was recorded in the preamble of the confession that DCP had asked policemen present there to leave the room. The Supreme Court was angered by the act of police officials, who, in their over-zealousness, had arranged for a media interview.However, after seven months, Guru disowned this confession and the Supreme Court did not accept the earlier confession as evidence against him.
IV. On 22 December 2001, the case was brought before an special POTA Court under sessions judge S N Dhingra and the trial started on 8 July 2002, and was conducted on a day-to-day basis.
V. On 18 December 2002, relying on the circumstantial evidence, the special court awarded capital punishment to Guru.
VI. An appeal was made to the Delhi High Court, but after going through the case and taking into consideration various authorities and precedents, the Court found that the conviction of Guru was correct and hence his appeal was dismissed.
VII. On 4 August 2005, the Supreme Court, upheld the death sentence for Afzal Guru.
VIII. Guru filed a review petition before the Supreme Court seeking review of its judgement. However, on 22 September 2005, the review petition too came to be dismissed by the Supreme Court.
In its judgement, the Supreme Court observed:
“As criminal acts took place pursuant to the conspiracy, the appellant, as a party to the conspiracy, shall be deemed to have abetted the offence. In fact, he took active part in a series of steps taken to pursue the objective of conspiracy.
The Supreme Court observed that mostly, the conspiracies are proved by the circumstantial evidence.It held that the circumstances detailed in the judgment clearly established that Guru was associated with the deceased militants in almost every act done by them in order to achieve the objective of attacking the Parliament House.
In October 2006, Guru’s wife Tabasum Guru filed a mercy petition with then President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. In June 2007, Supreme Court dismissed Guru’s plea.
On 7 September 2011, a high intensity bomb blast outside Delhi high court killed 11 people and left 76 others injured. In an e-mail sent to a media house Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, an Islamic fundamentalist organisation, owned responsibility for the attack and claimed the blast was carried out in retaliation to Parliament attack convict Guru’s death sentence.
“We own the responsibility for today’s blasts at Delhi high court. Our demand is that Mohammed Afzal Guru’s death sentence should be repealed immediately else we would target major high courts and the Supreme Court of India.”
On 3 February 2013, Guru’s mercy petition was rejected by the President of India. Afzal Guru was hanged six days later on 9 February 2013.
It is to be noted:
The All-India Anti-Terrorist Front Chairman Maninderjeet Singh Bitta urged the President of India not to accept any clemency pleas on Afzal’s behalf.
An India Today poll in late October showed that 78% of Indians supported the death penalty for Afzal.
At the end, I only want to say that raising your voice is not bad but raising your voice after analysing the facts is very important. Incomplete knowledge of anything can take you to the wrong way.
This article is purely based on the facts taken from the Wikipedia.