Supporting Maoists will invite 10 year jail
#13
Uglyhunk: "Finally, I do not mean any disrespect to anyone. Take it in the right spirit."

Cheers, mate! No offence taken by anyone I suppose (although I don't speak for anyone but myself). It's only a difference of opinion and some facts. Nothing personal. smile
Reply
#14
Greetings all.. this forum is indeed a great place to be in with all these exchange of ideas. I truly am delighted to know of the existence of other like minded individuals. Especially individuals who are brave enough to speak their mind irrespective of what others think and if be the case get attacked verbally for conflicting with the common thought. This here is my first attempt at participating. My name is Adithya

Ajita started this thread with a very specific question to his reference material. My opinion is simple - I feel it conflicts with my fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression - but that opinion is only on the face of it. The part we all forget is that when our constitution was written (rather copied/adapted from other existing constitutions at that point in time, namely the British constitution) a lot of fine print was put in place. Under the right to freedom, six guarantees of freedom are enumerated and just below that, each point is reconsidered with almost the same words which loosely reads to the effect of, 'you have the freedom except if...', and it is this fine print that lawmakers use to deny you the principle right. Here are the exact words in reconsideration to the freedom of speech and expression - "Nothing in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause in the interests of _16[the sovereignty and integrity of India,] the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence." .. in effect, how reasonable the restriction is will always be debatable and if the state arrests you for expressing support to the Naxalites, they are accusing you of undermining the sovereignty and integrity of India and the security of the State. That is serious crap and now the onus of proving innocence lies on you (provided you really haven't supported them). What do I think about this? Its pathetic. The point to highlight is that there exists flaws in the constitution itself and in my eyes, the reverence given to the constitution is not very different from the reverence given to religious user manuals (read holy books) by a theist nut. The only difference being that you may amend the constitution. The constitution is debatable so efforts should be made in the direction of rewriting the constitution with due consideration to the times we live in. Right to freedom should mean just that.. freedom to say and express what the f*** I want with no "except if"

Briefly responding to some of the other thoughts that were expressed here (which I think is deviating from the Ajita's question but none the less). I dont get it.. this desire in people to look at a humane angle. Violence is wrong! Period. I don't give a rat's ass why people turn to Maosism. There can be no, 'they killed because .. so you see there is a reason..'. Killing can never be a solution to any reason. Maoists and communists have a skewed ideology and the only way it can survive is if there is economic disparity. Just like how the existence of Pakistan is dependent on its hatred towards India, so is the existence of maoists dependent on its hatred towards authority and prosperity. They will forever have to fight the state and oppose development for their survival. Its all about everyone being equal in misery. Freedom of speech is the foundation to solving any 'core problem'. There have been efforts by the Indian Government to convince the Naxalites to use this freedom to express their grievances as opposed to blowing up symbols of state but they don't believe in talking.

Do I support the Maoist ideology? I do not. With some degree of certainty I can proclaim that no one here supports the maoists in their approach but do we sympathize with their grievances? Some of it we do.. I should be allowed to express my agreement with faults they find against the government of India. Basic human rights should ensure that I be allowed to voice my opinion. Having said all this I now go back and read the press release again. "......Maoist leaders have been directly contacting certain NGOs/intellectuals to propagate their ideology and persuade them to TAKE STEPS AS WOULD PROVIDE SUPPORT to the CPI (Maoist) ideology.......", "..........any person who commits the offence of SUPPORTING such a terrorist organization with inter alia intention TO FURTHER THE ACTIVITIES of such terrorist organizations........". It does not sound that offensive to me anymore, though it could have been worded better... add to it, 'you may voice the same concerns as the maoists from your own independent umbrella which does not resort to terrorist activities or infringe on the freedom of others the way the maoists do'. I would assume that some amount of authority is required by the executive to enforce laws for the betterment of the majority. The press release is a directive to those who provide logistic support or even moral support to further the activities of a group of people aiming to destabilize the sovereignty and integrity of India. What now is your opinion from this perspective?
[fon‌t=Courier]Adi's Blog
Adi's Facebook Page
Adi's Album
[/font]
Reply
#15
Quote:The press release is a directive to those who provide logistic support or even moral support to further the activities of a group of people aiming to destabilize the sovereignty and integrity of India.

Good to see you here Adithya. Coming back the issue, that is how all of us should interpret the government's directive and that is what I have been trying to convey (although not in the same tone Wink ). Surely government will not arrest common man for merely voicing their views on moaists even if the views are anti-government and pro-maoists. But the degree of one's involvement in maoists activities is what government is really concerned about. If the individual's support to the maoists cause undermines the government's efforts in curbing this menace then I'm all for whatever the government decideds to do.
Reply
#16
@Adithya, Uglyhunk,

To that extent, I would say it would not wrong to assume that if and when such sentences are carried out, they would be mostly for people who are actually actively involved in the violent process.

However, there are so very many cases which point out how this could also be used to settle political scores and for other purposes.

In Gujarat, a tribal leader was arrested because he was protesting RSS and their affiliate organisations were building Hanuman temples in place of their local animistic symbols (trees, rocks). They labelled him a Maoist. He later claimed that he had never even heard of that term and had no clue about their ideology.

There are many more examples in Chattisgarh, Gujarat, and Orissa. The authorities don't really have to prove anything. They just need to say that so and so made a speech somewhere in the jungle to a few dozen people. No proof required.

The law should make it necessary for the state to actually prove that such a person was actually involved in am activity that led to some incident(s).

My fear is the misuse of this law. I am also sure no one here actually supports the Maoists.

P.S. Nice to see you around, Adithya.
Reply
#17
Excellent dissection and analysis of the issue Aditya.
Reply
#18
Completely agree .. Am sure you are all aware that India has had many such acts in the past as well..Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) (1985-95), Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) of 2001, Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (POTA) of 2002 and the latest Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act formed after the Mumbai attacks. Section 39 that Ajita quoted is from this last act. There is no doubt that it will be misused but one needs to start somewhere. Its not all that hopeless though.. as has been observed in previous such acts, every-time the government crosses the line Human rights and civil liberty groups will make noise. All of us who are unhappy will lend voice to the agitation and some party will endorse repealing it as part of its election campaign. We will vote for that party and the act will be scrapped. That in a nutshell is democracy smile

(11-May-2010, 02:23 PM)siddharth Wrote: @Adithya, Uglyhunk,

To that extent, I would say it would not wrong to assume that if and when such sentences are carried out, they would be mostly for people who are actually actively involved in the violent process.

However, there are so very many cases which point out how this could also be used to settle political scores and for other purposes.

In Gujarat, a tribal leader was arrested because he was protesting RSS and their affiliate organisations were building Hanuman temples in place of their local animistic symbols (trees, rocks). They labelled him a Maoist. He later claimed that he had never even heard of that term and had no clue about their ideology.

There are many more examples in Chattisgarh, Gujarat, and Orissa. The authorities don't really have to prove anything. They just need to say that so and so made a speech somewhere in the jungle to a few dozen people. No proof required.

The law should make it necessary for the state to actually prove that such a person was actually involved in am activity that led to some incident(s).

My fear is the misuse of this law. I am also sure no one here actually supports the Maoists.

P.S. Nice to see you around, Adithya.
[fon‌t=Courier]Adi's Blog
Adi's Facebook Page
Adi's Album
[/font]
Reply
#19
Hi Adithya, thanks for your very interesting and informative posts. I'm glad you've decided to join us here!

Before I get into my argument, let me make it clear that I believe that this law is draconian, designed to forcefully suppress the contemplation and propagation of one particular ideology. I base this on my understanding of the exact wording of this law in the exact context that it is presented, taken with the current laws protecting us against terrorist threats.

Your input regarding Indian constitutional law is very enlightening. I have some knowledge about parts of our constitution as pertaining to the sections on blasphemy, and I completely agree about the deliberate ambiguity that's built into it. I also see how such ambiguity is often necessary given that moral problems are almost always situational. However, there are practical limits to such ambiguity. These limits are determined by objective facts and logic. As you say, it is a strength of the constitution that it is amendable. In my opinion, another strength of an ideal constitution should be the reliability of the tools of it's construction- logic and reason, based on a naturalistic understanding of reality.

The issue has been discussed above from the points of view of the government and the maoists. So, in this response I will focus on the philosophy behind the idea of free-speech. I believe that if a complete and objective analysis of the subject is taken up, most rational people will agree that this current action of the government is indeed stepping beyond justifiable limits.

I'm going to re-post some of what I've already said on facebook, just FYI.

To quote John Stuart Mill, who is one of the most quoted political philosophers on the subject of freedom and liberty:

Quote:"...there ought to exist the fullest liberty of professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine, however immoral it may be considered."

I'm sure you will agree that the freedom to criticize/express all ideas is a stranger to every dictatorship on the planet. The one thing we know for sure about freedom of speech is that the more it is practiced in a country, the less oppressed the people. This includes the freedom to criticize everything, including the state itself. It also includes the right to support any idea, however repugnant that idea might be to you or I.

There are two major clauses to free speech. The Harm Principle and The Offense Principle. The first is valid (examples of use include hate speech, incitement of violence and making death threats) and the second is not (examples of use include blasphemy, criticizing an ideology, supporting an ideology/religion). This is where I stand. This is where John Stuart Mill stands. This is the foundation of logic and reason over which we can build an appropriately malleable legal structure.

IMO, the only valid restrictions on freedom of speech are those that are clearly meant to prevent harm. Governments must go about doing this without stripping us off our freedom to offend. The only way to practice such a balance is to restrict the law to criminalize only those aspects of speech that clearly are intended to cause harm. Consider a case of hate speech, incitement of violence or making of death threats. A clear and intended causal effect must be drawn between the act of expression and the harm done. This is how the Harm Principle can be evoked to restrict certain forms of speech.

I think up to this point most of us will agree. The confusing and emotionally charged part is the interpretation of the language of the new law.

I submit that the law is open to interpretation beyond the acceptable limits afforded us by logic and reason. This is very cleverly disguised in language intended to evoke our emotional reactions, clouding our rational judgment and leading us to hand over our freedoms to the government, when in fact the law grants the government the right to unfairly target one particular ideology. For example, consider this part of the law:

Quote:" ...inter alia intention to further the activities of such terrorist organisations..."

What activities? Terrorist activities? Bathroom activities? Familial activities? A law restricting free speech becomes a tool to be used for suppression of ideas when it is so purposefully unclear. The harm clause could easily be stated very clearly and simply. But it is not stated clearly in the case of the new law because if done so the law would lose it's purpose and become redundant. It's purpose, of course, is to target one particular ideology. The people who drafted the law are not fools. The ambiguity is deliberate. Suppose someone said something to actually promote a terrorist plot, directly being involved in it with intent to cause harm. In such a situation, do you think the government would really need this stupid law to take action? Of course not. Whatever the organization or cause, be it the maoists or the hare krishnas, such an act would not be covered under the free-speech laws of any country, let alone India. We'd have them arrested faster than you can say WTF. So why then did the government have to go and draft this confusing and unclear law? How are they going to use the " intention to further the activities" clause that they have built into it?

Under the current law, a professor of political science can easily be arrested for saying that the Maoists have a point (maybe it won't stick in court, but it will have its intended effect of silencing the dissenters). An objective observer must look at the language of the law and see how easily this law can be used to shut down political and social dissent. Again, I must point you to John Stuart Mill's statement. Mill is also a stalwart of the harm principle, so the two are compatible. Free speech can be preserved while respecting the harm clause. This requires a clear distinction in the law between legitimate discussion of ideas and expression of intent to harm. This is clearly missing in the law. With good reason. If the government is not draconian and sticks to a fair and balanced approach, no special law that distorts freedom of expression would be required solely to target this one ideology. Of course, that would be against the government's agenda.

Whether we like it or not, there will always be authoritarian forces trying to convince us that our freedom is not as important as safety from all sorts of fears. In this particular case, there is no indication- not one- that a special law targeting this one particular ideology is required. There is only one explanation that satisfies all the evidence. The government is squashing verbal dissent using force.

I am fully for the process of debate and change that you, Adithya, propose. I too agree that this is the way forward. There have been times when I have argued against someone else's notion of free-speech, so I'm in no way ideologically tied to any extremist point of view here. I readily accept that in certain circumstances certain kinds of speech must be restrained. However, in this case I am firmly against the government taking away our freedoms on such flimsy and unjustifiable grounds.

Edit: I realize I've been referring to the home ministry statement as a 'law'. The truth is, we will have to wait and see how the courts react to this. My fear is that the government wants to use force to suppress any pro-Maoist intellectuals who have high potential to influence the populist narrative on the subject. For example, consider this story from last month. No matter what you think of Arundathi Roy's politics, even if you believe that she "glorifies" the violence and the Maoist guerrillas, there is no doubt that this is an attempt at suppressing intellectual dissent.

There is something else going on here. This statement by the Indian government is not in reaction to the violence. Take a look at this story. Three days before the home ministry made its announcement, the communication between Arundathi Roy and the Maoists was made public. Roy was contacted by the Maoists and asked to represent them in dialogue with the state. Roy rejected the offer, but has stated that intellectuals and activists should be invited to peace talks between the government and the Maoists. Now go back and read what the government said in its statement. "The home ministry said the government has noticed that some Maoist leaders were directly contacting certain NGOs and intellectuals to propagate their ideology and "persuade them to take steps (and) support the CPI-Maoist ideology"." The government has no intention of dealing with the intellectual debate. The proposed law is in reaction to a peaceful idea- that we can sort out our problems through discourse. The whole terrorism thing is a distraction. This law is not required to prosecute any actual terrorist act or any criminal action aiding or abetting of terrorism. It's purpose is to stifle thought and suppress intellectual dissent.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
Reply
#20
I agree with what Ajita has said above. The proposed law reminds me of McCarthyism of the USA.
The Govt. of India and the Home Ministry in particular know that some state governments like those in Bihar and Jharkhand have been formed with secret deals and support of Maoist leaders. What will the HM do about this?
Reply
#21
(11-May-2010, 12:20 PM)heliosadithya Wrote: Briefly responding to some of the other thoughts that were expressed here (which I think is deviating from the Ajita's question but none the less). I dont get it.. this desire in people to look at a humane angle. Violence is wrong! Period. I don't give a rat's ass why people turn to Maosism. There can be no, 'they killed because .. so you see there is a reason..'. Killing can never be a solution to any reason. Maoists and communists have a skewed ideology and the only way it can survive is if there is economic disparity. Just like how the existence of Pakistan is dependent on its hatred towards India, so is the existence of maoists dependent on its hatred towards authority and prosperity. They will forever have to fight the state and oppose development for their survival. Its all about everyone being equal in misery. Freedom of speech is the foundation to solving any 'core problem'. There have been efforts by the Indian Government to convince the Naxalites to use this freedom to express their grievances as opposed to blowing up symbols of state but they don't believe in talking.

Do I support the Maoist ideology? I do not. With some degree of certainty I can proclaim that no one here supports the maoists in their approach but do we sympathize with their grievances? Some of it we do.. I should be allowed to express my agreement with faults they find against the government of India. Basic human rights should ensure that I be allowed to voice my opinion. Having said all this I now go back and read the press release again. "......Maoist leaders have been directly contacting certain NGOs/intellectuals to propagate their ideology and persuade them to TAKE STEPS AS WOULD PROVIDE SUPPORT to the CPI (Maoist) ideology.......", "..........any person who commits the offence of SUPPORTING such a terrorist organization with inter alia intention TO FURTHER THE ACTIVITIES of such terrorist organizations........". It does not sound that offensive to me anymore, though it could have been worded better... add to it, 'you may voice the same concerns as the maoists from your own independent umbrella which does not resort to terrorist activities or infringe on the freedom of others the way the maoists do'. I would assume that some amount of authority is required by the executive to enforce laws for the betterment of the majority. The press release is a directive to those who provide logistic support or even moral support to further the activities of a group of people aiming to destabilize the sovereignty and integrity of India. What now is your opinion from this perspective?

While you think that violence is wrong 'period' and you don't give a rat's ass about the 'humane' angle (WTF!), not everyone shares such a black and white world-view. It's not about choosing sides, and the situation is a lot more complex than you think. This announcement is a part of a consistent and concerted effort by the establishment, supported by the mainstream media, to silence dissent on the Naxal issue and discredit human and civil rights groups that are decrying the unneccessary and excessive counter-revolutionary violence being employed by our forces in conflict areas around the country. We have one of the worst human rights records in the world when it comes to suppressing insurgencies and unrest, and if you've been following parliament, we've slowly and quietly moving towards a police state. Keeping that in mind, as well as the fact that the Indian government has already been abusing and stretching the existing laws to falsely implicate and imprison dissenters, as well as to justify the rape, torture and killings that have been carried out by our forces over the past 3 decades, any person who cares about democracy and freedom of speech should be against this. Unfortunately, we're hampered by our apathy, and the tendency to apologize for the government and to go along with its draconian and politically opportunistic propaganda that uses the spectres of terrorism to appropriate more and more power to itself. Everybody criticizes the patriot act, yet we have laws just as draconian, if not more, in our country.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Ben Franklin
Reply
#22
A lot has happened since the last time I commented on this post... Manmohan Singh clarifying the government's stand on the very statement that this thread started on, the Maoists derailing a passenger train that killed hundreds to express their defiance and so on.. I had stopped responding because I had said what I wanted to say and topics being reiterated were points which I felt were already covered under what I had expressed. I however stand corrected on where I made a reference to the 'British Constitution'. Ajita was kind enough to point out that the British have what is known as an unwritten constitution and it exists in a format that is different from what we have in India. Since this fact does not impact the gist of what I was trying to explain my argument still holds water. Thanks Ajita

Recidivist suggests that the situation is a lot more complex than I think, in which case I would appreciate it if someone could help me understand the situation because so far I am not sold on the ideas being thrown at me.

Quote:This announcement is a part of a consistent and concerted effort by the establishment, supported by the mainstream media, to silence dissent on the Naxal issue and discredit human and civil rights groups that are decrying the unneccessary and excessive counter-revolutionary violence being employed by our forces in conflict areas around the country. We have one of the worst human rights records in the world when it comes to suppressing insurgencies and unrest, and if you've been following parliament, we've slowly and quietly moving towards a police state. Keeping that in mind, as well as the fact that the Indian government has already been abusing and stretching the existing laws to falsely implicate and imprison dissenters, as well as to justify the rape, torture and killings that have been carried out by our forces over the past 3 decades, any person who cares about democracy and freedom of speech should be against this.

You ended that statement on quite a threat. I care about democracy and freedom of speech and I am against any form of violence but I am not against the government's announcement because the way I have interpreted it I dont see a problem. All the objections being put up against the case is coming from the stand point that the government is somehow scheming and plotting against its citizens. I dont buy it. This to me it sounds like a ridiculous conspiracy theory on the lines of the CIA got Kennedy shot, Bush got the WTC attacked on 9/11 etc. Such an accusation would mean that in India, which has seen central rules by parties with diametrically opposite ideologies have all worked in unity to propagate systematic suppression even during times when they sat in the opposition political party's chair. There is something fundamentally wrong in this thought process. Bowing to this thought to me is proclamation that one does not believe in Indian Democracy.

Everyone has the right to make noise about their displeasure with the government's decisions and make noise we must to start the process of change. In a system where 'the majority wins',the voice of dissent must grow loud enough to engulf the majority thereby influencing who rules. I have already commented on how this affects law making. The bottom line now is that I hear you, but I dont agree with you.. you make noise and if you can get the majority to agree with your stand you can change the law. Rest assured that we are not living in a dictatorship or monarchy so the majority will triumph... we have the systems in place for that.

(03-Jun-2010, 03:03 PM)Recidivist Wrote:
(11-May-2010, 12:20 PM)heliosadithya Wrote: Briefly responding to some of the other thoughts that were expressed here (which I think is deviating from the Ajita's question but none the less). I dont get it.. this desire in people to look at a humane angle. Violence is wrong! Period. I don't give a rat's ass why people turn to Maosism. There can be no, 'they killed because .. so you see there is a reason..'. Killing can never be a solution to any reason. Maoists and communists have a skewed ideology and the only way it can survive is if there is economic disparity. Just like how the existence of Pakistan is dependent on its hatred towards India, so is the existence of maoists dependent on its hatred towards authority and prosperity. They will forever have to fight the state and oppose development for their survival. Its all about everyone being equal in misery. Freedom of speech is the foundation to solving any 'core problem'. There have been efforts by the Indian Government to convince the Naxalites to use this freedom to express their grievances as opposed to blowing up symbols of state but they don't believe in talking.

Do I support the Maoist ideology? I do not. With some degree of certainty I can proclaim that no one here supports the maoists in their approach but do we sympathize with their grievances? Some of it we do.. I should be allowed to express my agreement with faults they find against the government of India. Basic human rights should ensure that I be allowed to voice my opinion. Having said all this I now go back and read the press release again. "......Maoist leaders have been directly contacting certain NGOs/intellectuals to propagate their ideology and persuade them to TAKE STEPS AS WOULD PROVIDE SUPPORT to the CPI (Maoist) ideology.......", "..........any person who commits the offence of SUPPORTING such a terrorist organization with inter alia intention TO FURTHER THE ACTIVITIES of such terrorist organizations........". It does not sound that offensive to me anymore, though it could have been worded better... add to it, 'you may voice the same concerns as the maoists from your own independent umbrella which does not resort to terrorist activities or infringe on the freedom of others the way the maoists do'. I would assume that some amount of authority is required by the executive to enforce laws for the betterment of the majority. The press release is a directive to those who provide logistic support or even moral support to further the activities of a group of people aiming to destabilize the sovereignty and integrity of India. What now is your opinion from this perspective?

While you think that violence is wrong 'period' and you don't give a rat's ass about the 'humane' angle (WTF!), not everyone shares such a black and white world-view. It's not about choosing sides, and the situation is a lot more complex than you think. This announcement is a part of a consistent and concerted effort by the establishment, supported by the mainstream media, to silence dissent on the Naxal issue and discredit human and civil rights groups that are decrying the unneccessary and excessive counter-revolutionary violence being employed by our forces in conflict areas around the country. We have one of the worst human rights records in the world when it comes to suppressing insurgencies and unrest, and if you've been following parliament, we've slowly and quietly moving towards a police state. Keeping that in mind, as well as the fact that the Indian government has already been abusing and stretching the existing laws to falsely implicate and imprison dissenters, as well as to justify the rape, torture and killings that have been carried out by our forces over the past 3 decades, any person who cares about democracy and freedom of speech should be against this. Unfortunately, we're hampered by our apathy, and the tendency to apologize for the government and to go along with its draconian and politically opportunistic propaganda that uses the spectres of terrorism to appropriate more and more power to itself. Everybody criticizes the patriot act, yet we have laws just as draconian, if not more, in our country.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Ben Franklin
[fon‌t=Courier]Adi's Blog
Adi's Facebook Page
Adi's Album
[/font]
Reply
#23
Adithya, I have a couple of points of disagreement with your statements.

Quote:"A lot has happened since the last time I commented on this post... Manmohan Singh clarifying the government's stand on the very statement that this thread started on, the Maoists derailing a passenger train that killed hundreds to express their defiance and so on.."

Sure, but how does this justify creating a special law targeting this one terrorist group and all those who voice support for Maoist/tribal issues? Are not our existing anti-terrorist laws sufficient? As I have said before, this is not intended to stop acts of terrorism, but to suppress dissent. There is no need for this law if terrorism is the only target. The government is unable to deal with intellectual dissent and so they shape a specific law that breaks down our civil liberties by appealing to the emotions of people and pointing to violent crimes against Indians.

Quote:"All the objections being put up against the case is coming from the stand point that the government is somehow scheming and plotting against its citizens. I don't buy it. This to me it sounds like a ridiculous conspiracy theory on the lines of the CIA got Kennedy shot, Bush got the WTC attacked on 9/11 etc."


Firstly, this is not a conspiracy theory, at least not on the same level as the ones that come to mind when the notion of conspiracy theory is brought up. This is about being aware of a well-documented process by which governments arrogate power onto themselves and suppress dissent. This happens in the most democratic of states by a purely organic process. There is no need for anything to take place behind closed doors. Breakdown of democracy can be very transparent.

Secondly, this is a case of poisoning the well. 9/11 conspiracy theories have been cleared demonstrated as stupid and reactionary nonsense. There is plenty of evidence against the silly notion that Bush was behind 9/11. It is something that has been debunked and dismissed by independent scientific commissions and numerous well-known skeptics. On the contrary, there is no such evidence (or even a proper argument) against the notion that this law is anti-democratic. In fact, the evidence points the other way, to demonstrate that this law is about suppression of free-speech. To draw an analogy between the notion that this law is a breakdown of freedom of speech and the idea that 9/11 was an inside job, is to taint the argument based on a false premise.

Note: In such cases we must go on the preponderance of the evidence, as Shermer would say. There is no conclusive proof, but all the evidence points to this law being about targeting a disagreeable ideology and not about targeting terrorism.

Quote:"Such an accusation would mean that in India, which has seen central rules by parties with diametrically opposite ideologies have all worked in unity to propagate systematic suppression even during times when they sat in the opposition political party's chair. There is something fundamentally wrong in this thought process. Bowing to this thought to me is proclamation that one does not believe in Indian Democracy."

This line of thinking is misleading about how such erosion of democratic law takes place. It also misstates the premise. Of course political parties are diametrically opposed to each other on certain ideological grounds. The misleading part is when you imply that this particular issue is something that the parties are diametrically opposed to each other about. This is false. Both major parties (BJP and Congress) have much to gain by suppressing communist ideology in our modern socio-political climate. In fact, we (meaning those of us debating this) all do! If we were making the argument purely out of self-interest (using a narrow definition of self-interest) most of us here would benefit from putting an end to communist ideology through force. But that would be undemocratic. I may not agree with communist ideology, but I certainly think that the government should not be suppressing it.

There are many issues where political parties are NOT opposed to each other. In many areas political opponents benefit regardless of ideological affiliations. Often, opposing parties work together to arrogate power unto themselves and tilt the scales against democracy and towards authoritarianism. Of course, this is a self-correcting process, but it is one that involves taking a stand when injustice is being perpetuated. This is why we have rights as citizens and this is why we have a judiciary that can challenge legislative decisions. In a true democracy, an informed and proactive citizenry is very much a part of the process. In India we are just not used to this, at least when compared to the West. It is essential that we realize that government is not just about political parties but also about the people.

Democracy is always evolving, and there is ALWAYS room for improvement. One can absolutely believe in Indian democracy and also be vigilant when it is being breached. This law is a breach of Indian democracy, not a shining example of its success. In such cases, it becomes the duty of the conscientious citizen to stand up against the government and for Indian democracy. This is the essence of the democratic process.

As I said before, In completely agree with you about the process of debate and change. But I am yet to see a single convincing argument as to why this particular law is necessary above and beyond our existing anti-terrorism laws.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
Reply
#24
My immediate thoughts on this issue were ...

If we let this happens once ! it would be a constant source of repression with an unquenchable need to monitor and censor our thoughts ...

More or less with crooks like Banerjee and Modi et all entrusted with positions of power and the undenialble turns that we seem to be making towards a fascist regime of sorts ..

Do remember when AB and i were having a similar debate on How much is too much ! To sum it all up on why so much angst has to be shone when governments decide to tell us what we can talk about ...

Some pointers to remember

Ask the Chinese, or North Koreans, or the Iranians, or Muslims in the US, whose once false statement can get them jailterms for 30 years, or 'renditioned'. The alternative is silence, out of fear of persecution. Ask the Muslims in Gujarat, or the Pandits in Kashmir. Or the millions living in fear in repressive regimes. Or a gay man or woman, almost anywhere in the world.

Freedom isn't free. Nothing is sacrosant. The benevolent state is getting increasingly radicalised, to counter radicals. Then it boils down to who did it first...an insane action-reaction cycle, of justification.

The US govt interned thousands of Japanese citizens during WW2, for fear of sabotage and espionage. It is doing it thousands of Islamic citizens, roughly on the same ground. They also had inalienable rights - of freedom, of expression, of choice - once.

In India, every dissident voice is already being called pro-Maoist, pro-Muslim, pro this, anti that. We are being pigeon-holed into titles for future references ..

All said and done There have been Rosa parks , Mandelas , Wilberfource and MLK that have taken it upon themselves to defy oppression ... Unfair Prosecution always is followed by Rebellion .

Its just the wait for the Proverbial last straw that can get infuriating

Can only imagine how it would be to have your personal expression repressed , but again when it is conveniently anchored to issues like security concerns ( seems to be the partyline for the US government ! ) .

But as a staunch believer in Democracy in its truest sense i would like to believe that the educated adults of this country would not sit and take it lightly if their freedom of expression is curbed .

Pigeon holing is an inevitable part of our lives especially in a country where everyone wants to be kept figured out - it must be the feeling of security of knowing what to expect out of a group .

China banned you tube twitter google and even xerox machines ! ! ! which includes more than 30,000 people are employed to keep an eye on websites, chat rooms and private e-mail messages.Some 150,000 unlicensed internet cafes nationwide have been closed in recent months and those remaining have had to install software that prevents access to up to 500,000 banned sites. !!!! ( This is scary ! ) ! But hopefully nothing much at this level in India ! ....

I would say How much you choose to put up with ..
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Victims prefer jail to death for kasab Sajit 10 5,169 07-May-2010, 03:37 PM
Last Post: Sajit



Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)