Sedition. And free speech.

Sedition charges have been filed against Rahul Gandhi, D Raja, Sitaram Yechury and others.

The XI Metropolitan Magistrate Court of L B Nagar ordered the cases to be filed on a petition by advocate S Janardhan Goud, who stated that he was disturbed by the video footage shown on Times Now and Zee News in which he heard students chanting anti-India slogans.


Denying any political affiliations, Goud said the videos shown on news channels had left him agitated. “I have been told that the videos are genuine and that some students really chanted slogans that they will cut the country into pieces. How can Rahul Gandhi and other leaders sit alongside such student leaders and express support to them when they chant anti-national slogans? I am a citizen of this country and I want to know what is going on at JNU and why these leaders visited the students. That is why I filed the petition.”

If it were so, it were a grievous charge…

Meanwhile, in another universe, this happens (Emphasis mine):

Speaker after speaker urged Hindus to “corner Muslims and destroy the demons (rakshas)”, while declaring that “all preparations” had been made to effect “badla (revenge)” before the 13th-day death rituals for Mahaur. “Human skulls would be offered to his martyrdom,” VHP district secretary Ashok Lavania, who has been jailed earlier for assaults on Muslims, said.

Talking about the coming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, local BJP MLA Jagan Prasad Garg told the crowd, “You will have to fire bullets, you will have to take up rifles, you will have to wield knives. Elections are approaching in 2017, begin showing your strength from now onwards.” The 5,000-odd crowd chanted slogans such as “Jis Hindu ka khoon na khaule, khoon nahin wo pani hai (the Hindu who doesn’t get angry isn’t Hindu enough)”.

Direct, open calls to mass violence made in the presence of members of the Union government. Complete the sentence: If students shouting slogans is sedition, political leaders calling for mass murder is… ?

Full marks if you wrote “a natural manifestation of public anger”.

In related news, The Hindu Mahasabha wants to instal statues of Nathuram Godse in all temples. It also wants to do this (emphasis mine):

“The population of Muslims and Christians is growing day by day. To rein in this, Centre will have to impose emergency, and Muslims and Christians will have to be forced to undergo sterilisation so that they can’t increase their numbers,” vice president of All India Hindu Mahasabha, Sadhvi Deva Thakur said.

And thus, day by day, the ‘Hindutva’ agenda becomes fleshed out.

A prime minister — noted for his unwavering strength — said not so long ago: (Emphasis mine)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Hindus and Muslims on Thursday to fight poverty together and ignore “irresponsible” comments from politicians, in what is being seen as a stern message to rabble-rousers making incendiary statements about a mob lynching last week over cow-slaughter rumours.


I have said this before and I will repeat myself,” the Prime Minister said at an election rally in Nawada, referring to a statement he made two years ago following a bomb attack on his public meeting in Patna. “We should decide if Hindus want to fight Muslims or poverty. Muslims must decide if they want to fight Hindus or poverty. Hindus and Muslims must unite to fight poverty and defeat it.”

Yeah. The prime minister has said this before. Time, therefore, to arrive at the only possible conclusion: Nobody in his party, in his government, and in his larger Parivar gives a flying fig what Narendra Modi (or his hand-picked party president) says — so much for his so-called “strength”.

Tangentially: On social media (and this is one among many reasons I stopped discussing anything of any consequence on Twitter), “where were you when..” is a thing. A boring, predictable, pointless thing, but a thing nevertheless.

“Where were you  when BJP worker Abhilash was hacked to death by CPM activists in Thrissur? Where was the liberal outrage then?”

I don’t speak for “liberals” — or anyone else for that matter. But I know where I was — right here, wondering what the fuck was going on in my state, my country. Which is exactly what I was doing, also, when I read that BJP workers had stabbed to death C Narayanan of the CPM.

Political parties of all stripes, bereft of ideas, have replaced discourse with brutal violence, with death.

So the next time the right wing, or the left, is inclined to play “gotcha”, it might be a good idea to wait, because one thing is sure: In just a matter of hours, or days, your side will do something equally contemptible, condemnable.

Update: An audio recording of the VHP-sponsored speeches at which an MoS in the Modi government took part.