Cartoonist and activist Aseem Trivedi was charged with sedition in 2012 for his cartoons under the Cartoons against Corruption campaign
Chandrani Banerjee | February 26, 2016
Is the freedom of expression being systematically suppressed in recent years?
I do believe that there is a constant effort to do that, which is depressing. A free-thinking society signals growth, equality and development. But the changing scenario certainly puts a question mark on these.
Is political intervention a reason for this shift?
The right to express views freely has always been targeted. In the past, efforts were made to curb the medium that raised questions on policies and systemic challenges. I did not mention student politics. But when the society is being affected, student politics which is already politically influenced can’t remain untouched. This is all turning from bad to worse and we need to draw a line.
Do you think sedition has been used for vested interest?
I have no two views about it. The legal shelter is the safest. Government and political parties feel free to create a certain perception. A similar thing is happening in the JNUSU case. The perception has already been created for a greater audience because the facts are not available to everyone.
Should there be some restrictions as far as college and universities are concerned?
Yes, the entire world feels the same. Free thinking in campuses is an indication of free-thinking society.
Has freedom of speech become a threat?
I would say it again. The aim is to create a perception that disapprove a particular viewpoint and then instigate it politically.
Has sedition become a political tool?
Politics is always behind pressing such charges. The law needs to be amended and needs a relook.
Why this clampdown on people with dissenting and with one particular viewpoint?
The clampdown aims to inject a particular viewpoint. This cannot be accepted by a free society. Everyone has the right to live, the right to speak and the right to follow a particular thought process. In a free country, forced acceptance will never work out.
Was it fair to charge Kanhaiya with sedition?
I disagree and believe that there is something terribly wrong. Students are the section of the society that reflects growth, tolerance level and free thinking. Pressing such charges on them will create a fearful environment which will not be in favour of the country.