Having written repeatedly in defence of Dr. Binayak Sen, who was convicted of sedition in December 2010, and also having chaired a public discussion in Mumbai in May 2011 on the need to strike down Sec. 121, I am certainly no supporter of this colonialist law. That’s the reason I did not say that Akbaruddin Owaisi deserves to be tried under it. He did not incite “disaffection against a government established by law”, which as I’ve said in my article, he should have. In his speech, Owaisi not only distanced himself from his country, he also provoked feelings of separateness from the country among his community, to the extent of threatening that “we” would leave the country taking with “us” what is “ours”, if pushed too far. I ask again: what charge should he be booked under for inciting disloyalty?

Second, the letter written by some secularists says that the prosecution of MP Asaduddin Owaisi for a 2005 case, sends a “wrong message” about “going beyond the requirements of justice and being influenced by vendetta politics”, and could be seen as “victimisation”. Bal Thackeray was prosecuted in 2000 for a case filed in 1993. The failure of the Congress-NCP government to present a strong case, and its reluctance to appeal when the magistrate promptly dismissed the case, were the precise reasons that I said Thackeray’s prosecution was as much about “vendetta politics” as Asaduddin Owaisi’s is. Hence the question: why did no secularist feel that Thackeray’s belated prosecution “sent a wrong message”?

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