What NewsX has been warning against for the last few days has come true. A myriad number of fringe groups emboldened by support from mainstream political parties and liberals of various tribes have dared the Indian state in several university campuses by espousing separatist sentiments and endorsing the twisted agendas of sundry terrorists.
Jadavpur University is but an extreme example of this. For two days now, students have marched through the campus shouting “Bharat ki barbadi; Bharat ke tukde tukde; India go back”; all in the name of the right to freedom of expression and free speech.
Unfortunately, in the rush to uphold these freedoms, however jaundiced, certain political parties and activists have forgotten that under Article 19(2) of the Constitution, freedom of expression is not an absolute right. It is subject to reasonable restrictions. Ironically, the Congress and the Left, which today argues for absolute freedom of expression has prosecuted the likes of Arundhati Roy, Simranjeet Singh Mann and banned the ‘Satanic Verses’ by Salman Rushdie because it didn’t believe that the right to freedom of expression was subject to reasonable restrictions.
What has changed from then to now? The question then arises—are political parties merely using the JNU Afzal league to score political points against the center? Who bears responsibility if the plethora of divisive sub-nationalism already existing in India demand freedom in the garb of
venting grievances? If every grievance becomes an occasion for separatist sloganeering then wouldn’t the idea of India be under threat?