Retired Supreme Court Justice Says India’s Sedition Law Should Be Immediately Abolished - IAMC

Retired Supreme Court Justice Says India’s Sedition Law Should Be Immediately Abolished

Justice Deepak Gupta, who retired as a judge of India’s Supreme Court in 2020, has slammed India’s draconian Law of Sedition (Section 124A) and stated that it should be “immediately abolished.” In an interview with Karan Thapar of The Wire, a news website, the former judge said the law had been used to detain critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including for doing basic reporting, tweeting information, and raising slogans critical of the Modi regime.

Section 124A, Justice Gupta said, “is used by governments to create fear in the citizenry to prevent or throttle dissent… The law is widely misused,” and cases of its misuse against journalists and human rights defenders are now increasing “exponentially.”

“In 1962, the Supreme Court… had read down Section 124A, and it now only applies if there is incitement to violence. That is a necessary ingredient, and without that incitement [the sedition law] cannot be used. However… magistrates across the country seem to be unaware of this or are ignoring it,” said Justice Gupta.

The rampant misuse, he added, “means that Section 124A is no longer what it says in print.”

Singapore To Ban ‘The Kashmir Files’ For Its One-Sided Anti-Muslim Portrayal

The Singapore government has decided to ban the Hindu nationalist propaganda film “The Kashmir Files” due to its “provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims and the depictions of Hindus being persecuted” in Kashmir, according to a statement.

Under the film classification guidelines, “any material that is denigrating racial or religious communities in Singapore will be refused classification,” said the statement, which was released by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

“The Kashmir Files” has led to a spike in anti-Muslim hate speech and hate crimes, including threats made by Hindu extremists to expel Muslims from their homes, calls for anti-Muslim boycotts, and violent physical attacks.

Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh Protests Anti-Muslim Demolition Drives

In the aftermath of a proposal by the BJP to begin demolishing homes in Shaheen Bagh, a Muslim-majority area of New Delhi, protesters flooded the streets in protest against yet another anti-Muslim demolition drive. Teams of Delhi Police, along with paramilitary forces, were deployed to help the Municipal Corporation (MC) begin what it calls an “anti-encroachment” drive.

Both residents and opposition party leaders crowded around bulldozers stationed in the area, attempting to block the MC from tearing down innocent people’s homes.

“This is a bulldozer of hatred. It is completely unconstitutional. We will not let this demolition happen,” a party leader said.

Another person slammed the intent behind the drive, asking, “You [BJP] have been ruling MC for the past 15 years. What happened suddenly?”

The protesters were able to successfully prevent any demolitions on May 9 by blocking a bulldozer that was moving towards the scaffolding around a building with shops on the first floor. The protesters then dismantled the scaffolding themselves, forcing the bulldozer to turn back and raising questions of why the bulldozer had been deployed to begin with.

“There is no issue of encroachments anywhere here. If they haven’t cleared anything from here, and nothing was demolished here today, then what encroachment was here to begin with?” said Mohammad Salim, vice-president of the Shaheen Bagh residents’ welfare association.

Muslim homes and properties have been bulldozed in demolition drives across the country, including in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh states. Amnesty International India has condemned the move as being a violation of Human Rights Law.

Hindu Extremists Vandalize Karnataka Church, Place Portrait Of Hindu Deity Inside 

Hindu extremists vandalized the Assembly of God Peradka church in Karnataka state in a clear attempt to harass and intimidate India’s vulnerable minority Christian community.

The vandals destroyed the church’s cross, planted a saffron flag on the building, and placed a portrait of the Hindu deity Hanuman inside. The extremists also removed an electric meter, water pump, pipes, and documents related to the prayer center.

None of the Hindu extremists responsible have yet been identified or arrested.