The police say they are investigating her possible links to Maoists insurrections. I suspect this is the usual twaddle to justify arbitrary arrest. Even if she has Marxist leanings, so do millions of other youngsters. The world over, youngsters have long been seduced by Marxism's promise of a popular revolt against oppressors. I have battled Marxism most of my life. When the Soviet Union collapsed, I called Indian Marxists lifelong supporters of murder and torture in pursuit of a bankrupt ideology. Yet, I defended to the hilt their freedom to express their dubious views. Student agitators galore have evolved into solidly middle-class professionals. So, it is ridiculous to treat their youthful revolutionary rhetoric as a national security threat.
Urban Naxals are even more contemptuous of Pakistan's quasi-military authoritarianism than of Indian democracy. To accuse anybody who says Pakistan Zindabad of also being an Urban Naxal is a farcical self-contradiction.
Go one step further. How can wishing any country a long life be sedition India's edition law was enacted by the British raj to suppress any Indian dissent. This colonial relic cries out for abolition.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly declared that this law must be used only in really serious situations. In the 1995 Balwant Singh case verdict, the court said, 'The casual raising of slogans once or twice by two individuals alone cannot be said to be aimed at exciting or attempt to excite hatred or disaffection towards the government Section 124A IPC, would in the circumstances of the case have no application whatsoever'
Saying 'Pakistan Zindabad' does not, in any way, call for the violent overthrow of the Indian State. Zindabad merely means long live, an expression of goodwill that can surely be extended to all countries, including those India has serious problems with. The US and Britain supported Pakistan for years on the Kashmir issue. At that time, would saying USA Zindabad or Britain Zindabad have been grounds for arrest Absolutely not.
Jawaharlal Nehru was naive enough to view China as a friend. He coined the slogan, Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai. This was even more fulsome than China Zindabad. Jan Sangh, predecessor of today's BJP, accused Nehru of stupidity, cupidity, faulty analysis and lousy foreign policy, but never called Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai seditious.
Some view Pakistan as a mortal foe with whom friendly relations are impossible. Others in both countries think bridges can be built and wish to keep doors open and dialogues going. Peaceniks on both sides may be naive, but those from Pakistan saying Hindustan Zindabad and those from India saying Pakistan Zindabad are really aiming for peace. And that is not sedition.
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