Free speech is not always free

Congress, Left and their ‘intellectuals’ who impose their blinkered view on others are calling nationalists intolerant.

Published: 03rd March 2017 01:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2017 12:02 AM   |  A+A-

Nationalism seems to have become a pejorative these days for the Congress leaders and not unsurprisingly, the Communists, who are trying to poison the minds of youngsters through distortion of
truth, are also saying that anybody critical of the BJP and NDA is being branded as ‘anti-national’.

For company, these Communists and Congressmen are joined by pseudo-secularists, the so-called intellectuals and left-wing propagandists, who ironically are calling BJP supporters and its allies
“intolerant”, while they seek to impose their blinkered view. Nobody is against civilised debate or dissent, but designs of disintegration should be defeated uncompromisingly as the integrity and sovereignty of India are non-negotiable. There cannot be any mincing of words on that count.

Having lost battle after battle against the BJP with the latest instance being the municipal and panchayat polls in Maharashtra and Odisha, the Congress and its allies are desperately trying to vitiate the atmosphere on university campuses and create social tensions. All in the name of freedom of expression, which was never curbed or circumscribed by the NDA government, unlike the Congress, which earned worldwide notoriety for imposing the Emergency in 1975.

The latest false narrative relates to freedom of expression. To put it in perspective, the claims on a Goebbelsian scale are coming at a time when BJP’s political opponents are stooping so low as to
compare the prime minister with a donkey. Of course, this is not the first time that they had indulged in loose, contemptible talk, which is in character with their crass political background. They had called Modi maut ka saudagar, khoon ka dalal and ‘psychopath’.

It is apparent that the Congress, Communists and their allies are rattled at the existential threat they face after losing the recent elections. Unable to counter the growing popularity of Modi and the BJP, they are targeting the youth as they support Modi.

In the latest incident involving Ramjas College, the ABVP  protested against an invite to Umar Khalid, who organised an event in JNU last year to observe the ‘martyrdom’ of Afzal Guru, the terrorist
who plotted the attack on the Parliament. Incidentally, it is in the same JNU that slogans like Bharat ke Tukde, Tukde kar Denge and slogans seeking Azaadi for Kashmir were raised by a handful of anti-national elements.

Just as they had done in the JNU and Jadavpur University incidents, the Congress, Communists and communalists have once again joined hands to defame the NDA government with the ridiculous argument that the BJP was promoting intolerance and curbing freedom of expression. Will any sensible Indian ever buy this idea?

Some of our political opponents went to the farcical extent of comparing the present atmosphere with the Emergency. During that period, the Opposition was put behind bars, fundamental rights were
trampled, media was gagged, censorship was imposed, judges were superseded and the need for a ‘committed judiciary’ was propagated. Even the Constitution was amended. All that was done to save one person. Could any right-thinking person make such an odious comparison and equate this incident to the  Emergency? Some anti-national elements are advocating Azaadi for Kashmir, which is an
integral part of India. No citizen would accept such fissiparous activities.

However, Congress leaders like P Chidambaram seem to be supporting separatists. Chidambaram claimed Kashmir was nearly lost and blamed the Centre for using “brute force”. He probably wants terrorists and stone-pelters to be handed candies and treated with kid gloves when hundreds of brave jawans are sacrificing their lives to protect the country.

How can an ex-home minister put forth such a ridiculous argument unless one has a sinister, divisive agenda? His statement will be music to the ears of terrorists and Pakistan, which is aiding and
abetting cross-border terrorism.

Coming to the Ramjas incident, it should be noted that some outsiders tried to take advantage of the situation and created trouble on the campuses. I condemn in no uncertain terms the reported threats issued to the student Gurmehar Kaur and the alleged molestation of an ABVP girl. These incidents should be probed and stringent punishment be meted out to the culprits.

At the same time, nobody should be allowed to justify or promote a divisive agenda. With regard to the image posted by Gurmehar with a placard stating ‘Pakistan did not kill my dad, war did’, the dig
taken by Virender Sehwag should be understood in the right perspective. Does it mean that our soldiers should keep quiet when Pakistanis attack them? It was not war, but Pakistanis who killed Gurmehar’s father, who bravely gave his life for India.

The truth is anybody who acts against the country’s interest is anti-national. Let there be no pussyfooting on this score. The unity and integrity of the nation remain supreme and it’s not acceptable
if some elements support the disintegration of the country in the garb of freedom of expression. It should be remembered that freedom of speech/expression is not absolute and circumscribed by “reasonable restrictions” under Article 19 (2) of the Constitution, which include sovereignty and integrity of India.

By ridiculing nationalists, the Congress and Communists have once again proved they are hard on nationalists and soft on terrorists. No patriotic Indian can accept the glorification of separatists like
Maqbool Bhatt, Afzal Guru and Burhan Wani.

We are not ready to accept dismemberment of the motherland in the garb of freedom of expression. Let there be no ambiguity about this.

The author is Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Information and Broadcasting

Follow him on Twitter: @MVenkaiahNaidu


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