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Should actor-turned-politician Ramya apologise for her view on Pakistan?

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Bengaluru: Actor-turned-politician Ramya on Tuesday stood by her counter not to apologize for her statement that ‘Pakistan is not hell‘. She believes that everyone is entitled to have their opinion in a democratic country. A day after her statement a sedition complaint was filed by an NGO against her for Praising Pakistan at Madikeri Court. She believes that the BJP is using the sedition law to target her for her opinion.

The actress and former MP commented this in response to Manohar Parrikar’s August 16 statement that going to Pakistan felt like going to hell. But her statement has been met with criticism by BJP activist and right-wingers. On the other hand, Congress has come out openly to support the politician for speaking her mind.

Is the law being misused?

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Ramya feels that people are misusing the sedition law for their personal gain and it should be modified. However, it does not look like a possibility since the Congress Government also has overused this law for their personal gain.

On Monday, Advocate K Vittala Gowda filed a private complaint in the JMFC Court in Somwarpet to seek sedition charges against her. The complaint wanted to book Ms. Ramya under IPC Sections 124-A (sedition) for insulting India and appreciating the enemy of India. The Court had posted the case for hearing on August 27.

But the question arises how praising the other country can become an insult to one’s country. Ramya also believes that as an individual she has a right to speak her mind and give her opinion on what she feels is right.

What does sedition stand for?

The problem arises due to sedition being an open-ended word which can be interpreted by people differently. It refers to anyone who tries to bring in hatred, excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the people due to their words or sign. Because the word has such loose definition, it gets interpreted by people who wants to silence others raising uncomfortable issues.

In the past, Supreme Court itself stated that speech did not amount to sedition. In a democratic country, where everyone has the right to his/her own opinion does the law make any sense? Also, it’s time that the government revised the law so that people cannot use it for their personal agenda.

The question that people need to ponder on is that the fabric of the nation is so weak that comments praising another country become a threat to our nation. The need of the hour is that the lawyers and government focus on other issues like rape, rising prices, etc. which are proving to be a threat to our country.

Previously activists Binayak Sen, Arundhati Roy, Uday Kumar etc. have also been charged with creating sedition. These people have dared to speak their mind publicly.

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