Freedom of Expression in peril in India

Given below is the FB status update that resulted in arrest of a 21 year old woman and destruction of her Uncle’s hospital. Another woman was arrested for liking the above status update.

Every day thousands of people die but still the World moves on.
Due to one political leader’s death, a natural death every one goes bonkers
They should know we are resilient by force, not choice
When was the last time anyone showed some respect or even 2 minutes silence for Shahid Bhagat Singh, Azad or Sukhdev?
Respect is earned, not given and definitely not forced.
Today Mumbai shut down due to fear not respect. “

The vandalisation of hospital took place on Sunday, but none of the 24/7 tv channels reported it then. They were eulogising the ‘peaceful’ rally of Shiv Sena held before the cremation of Bal Thackeray.
Even on Nov 19th morning Police kept on denying the arrest till afternoon. Till then Sena sympathisers on twitter were spreading the falsehood that the girls were taken away for their own safety.

No political party actually wants freedom of expression for ordinary citizens. To ensure that freedom exist in our Country we should be ready to struggle hard fearlessly and courageously.

Link

Another Link in Foreign Press

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BJP’s attempt to intimidate a free thinker

A large group of BJP Mahila Morcha activists protesting Arundhati Roy’s recent remarks on Kashmir broke into the compound of the writer’s residence here on Sunday.



The mob assembled outside Ms. Roy’s house in the high-security diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri around 11 a.m. and shouted slogans against her for more than half an hour. “Curiously, three news channel vans were stationed outside our house even before the protest began…the mob was abusive and broke through the front gate of the house,” Ms. Roy’s husband, Pradip Krishen, said.


Ms. Roy was not in the house at the time of the attack. In a statement, she said the mob numbered as many as a hundred persons. The activists broke a few flower pots kept outside the house and dispersed before the arrival of the police
From The Hindu,Nov 1,2010

We strongly condemn the rising tide of intolerance and hate speech that led to the attack on the residential premises of the writer and social activist Arundhati Roy.



The attack, by elements of the BJP Mahila Morcha on October 31, was reportedly carried out after due advance notice was given to three of India’s leading English news channels, which had their OB vans parked outside Roy’s home. The verbal attacks on Roy began with her participation in a Delhi meeting on October 21 and a subsequent public appearance in Srinagar on October 24, at which she repeated her often quoted and widely publicised views on Kashmir.


We are shocked that responsible media commentators have with few moral qualms brought up the possibility of charging Roy under the law dealing with “sedition”, a discredited legacy of colonial years.


We are shocked, that the media engagement with this issue has stopped short of an unequivocal defence of free speech. The failure to defend the right to dissent will inevitably fuel vigilante attacks. And the old alibi – that nobody can control public reactions to intolerable provocations – will again be advanced by those who should have safeguarded basic rights, but failed colossally to do so.


We remind those who remain silent in the face of this outrage, that this particular alibi has had a long and disgraceful career, including in the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the persecution of other great creative personalities.


In August 2008, a similar attack was carried out on an exhibition mounted by SAHMAT of M.F. Husain’s work. A few months later, vigilantes of the Shri Ram Sene – a freshly minted addition to the Hindutva family – attacked women at a pub in Mangalore, for supposedly immoral behaviour
From Sahmat Press Statement

We may have difference of opinion,but a political party believing in democracy should be in fore front to defend the right of each and every person of the country to have his or her opinion.

Arundathi Roy is one of the foremost free thinker of our Country. She may be classified as an anarchist and do not represent any major political force.It may be easy for India’s main opposition party to chase her out of our Country like they did with M.F.Hussein.But her presence in India and her ability to express her opinions freely is very important for Indian democracy.

Today the mob broke flower pots in Arundathi Roy’s house. Tomorrow it may burn my house,and the day after it will attack you physically. They will come because you expressed your frank opinion about a subject.That will mean the end of democracy in India. Do we want that?