New Delhi, March 03, 2016 (PPI-OT):The Amnesty International has reminded India that the British used the sedition law to curb free speech during India’s independence struggle, and now the Indian government is using the same law to silence and harass those with divergent opinions. The Amnesty International in a letter to Indian Home Minister ask him to decide where stands regarding the use of sedition law.
“JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar and Professor Syed Abdur Rehman Gilani are in detention under a law which deserves no place in India,” the letter writes adding the Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, which defines the offence of sedition, is a colonial-era relic.
“It was enacted by the British to repress India’s independence struggle. Mahatma Gandhi, who was imprisoned under the law, called it the prince among the political sections of the Indian Penal Code designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen”.
The sedition law, the letter added, is excessively vague and broad, making it an easy tool to stifle dissent and debate. There is no good way to apply Section 124A. It does not comply with international human rights law, the letter mentioned. It violates the right to freedom of expression under the Indian Constitution.
Meanwhile, on the re-arrest of Prisoner of Conscience Irom Sharmila by the Manipur police on the fake charge of attempting suicide, two days after a Manipur court acquitted her of an identical charge, the Amnesty International described it as the cynicism of authorities.
Irom Sharmila has been on a prolonged hunger strike for over 15 years, demanding the repeal of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which provides sweeping powers to soldiers, including the power to shoot to kill with immunity in Jammu and Kashmir and Indian state of Manipur.
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