I refer to a letter in this column on March 8, headlined “Sedition charge.” While there is no argument that the charge of sedition slapped against Kashmiri students for allegedly celebrating Pakistan’s victory against India in a cricket match is to be condemned, I fail to understand how the point of Hindu ideology comes into the picture. Preaching intolerance toward the religion that the majority of people in India follow seems to have become a passion for some people.
With reference to the letter headlined “Sedition charge,” it was amazing to read how celebrating a victory of our so-called enemy (as per the letter writer’s terms) is unpardonable. I served in the Indian Army for 29 years. I was posted in Jammu and Kashmir for six years, where as a uniformed officer I was trained to fight and to kill enemies during war and bring glory to the Army and India. Even today I will go back to serve in the Army if there is an emergency. That said, to enthusiastically label every Pakistani our enemy is not only wrong but also regrettable. We were taught that during war if we came across an unclaimed body of an enemy soldier, we should ensure a proper burial as per the customs of the religion he belonged to. The Meerut incident involving students must be used to exemplify the need to refrain from passing on our subcontinental anger to the next generation.
The action of the Swami Vivekanand Subharti University was unwise. Cheering a cricket team playing against India is not seditious and there is no law that disallows that. The university authorities should correct their stand by calling the students back. As rightly stated in the article, ‘The perils of blatant secessionism,’ the university’s thoughtless action will further alienate Kashmiris from the Indian mainstream.
S. K. Vijayan,
The incident involving students of Jammu and Kashmir shows our prejudice towards them. We should not forget that the right to freedom of expression is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution. There is no doubt that sedition law is a double-edged sword; so care must be taken in invoking it. Feelings of nationalism and patriotism can be inculcated only if all citizens of this country feel secure and equal, which is the government’s responsibility to ensure.
Kashmiri students rejoicing over the Pakistan cricket team’s win over India certainly indicates a wrong kind of attitude. This episode indicates that the people of Kashmir are often influenced by the culture of Pakistan. Our country is known for a healthier sort of democracy and our Constitution has not given much scope for social inequality. Despite such liberties, favouritism towards a nation that is infamous for religious extremism is undoubtedly a provocation that cannot be tolerated. This needed to be nipped in the bud, else it would have even led to terrorist tendencies.
M.C.S. Pavan Kumar,
Though the students who were charged of sedition were Kashmiris with grievances, they should not have cheered for a team which won against their home (Indian) team. This is ethically unacceptable. These were not illiterate people but university students who were fully aware of the impact that their actions would cause.
Sunil Kumar Vuppala,