With Rohith Vemula’s suicide and Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest, some members of the media, intellectuals, professors and politicians (let us designate them as liberals in short) have been raising two points on anti-national sloganeering. The first is that the government has been trying to harass or slap charges of sedition on those who have been raising their voices, and is trying to suppress dissent. The second is that there should be no limit to freedom of expression and that in a free society, there are neither sacred cows nor any bar on anything, however detrimental it may be to the nation.
Let us keep aside, for the time being, how the judiciary would decide what amounts to sedition and whether freedom of expression has no boundaries. Instead, let us see how far the points of liberals pass the scrutiny of reasoning and practicality. Let us analyse the first point of the government slapping charges of sedition on those who raise a voice of dissent. The Hyderabad episode started when the Ambedkar Students’ Union staged a protest on the hanging of Yakub Memon terming it judicial murder. When an ABVP student union leader objected to it, by terming them anti-nationals, he was allegedly attacked and the events, as we know it, followed thereon. In the case of JNU, some students of the university organised a protest on the hanging of Afzal Guru, again terming it judicial murder, with slogans that called for the disintegration of India. The arrest of some students on charges of sedition followed thereon.