Right to Abuse comes Under Freedom Of Speech – The question is Whether the Right To Abuse comes Under Freedom Of Speech, find out the answer to the question of Whether the Right To Abuse comes Under Freedom Of Speech of not? Let us see one of the incidents of Nupur Sharma. Because the question of Whether the Right To Abuse comes Under Freedom Of Speech or not is arising from this incident.
The Nupur Sharma controversy rocked the country. It was the first time that a statement from The Nupur Sharma controversy rocked the country. It was the first time that a statement of a spokesperson of a political party, caused a boycott of Indian products in other countries. There were protests at many places in India. In some places, the protests turned violent, such as in Jharkhand, West Bengal, and UP. There was stone-pelting, Policemen were injured, and the police fired into the crowd leading to the death of two people.
What was the whole issue? Where can the line be drawn between Hate Speech and Freedom of Speech? The Nupur controversy had not actually begun with Nupur Sharma’s comment, instead, it began with the issue of the Gyanwapi Mosque. The actual issue is quite extensive.
Let us see Whether the Right to Abuse Comes under Freedom of Speech?
In April, the Varanasi Court had ordered, a video graphic survey in the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and the Gyanwapi Mosque complexes. This was ordered by the court on the basis of a petition. After this survey, an object was discovered in this mosque. Some people claimed that the object was a Shivling, On the other hand, some people claimed that it is a fountain.
There was no investigation into it to find out what actually is. But it was extensively discussed on social media. You can see the photo of this object on Google. For this, they were mocked by many on social media, saying that by using that logic, anything can be called a Shivling. They uploaded photos of road barriers saying that they too can be Shivling, by using that logic. These jokes hurt the sentiment of some people. They said that their religion was being mocked. That their God Shiva was being mocked.
Although, if you try to use common sense, you will see that these jokes are targeted at those people who took for a Shivling in everything. Shiva or the Shivling was not being mocked. But anyway, during the same time, a DU Professor Rattan Lal, an Associate Professor of History in Hindu College, made an objectionable social media post. He took the joke a level further. Not only was an FIR registered against him, but Dr. Ratan Lal was also arrested.
He was charged with Section 135A, for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of Religion, and Section 295A, a deliberate act to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting ita religion section 295A is quite important. Dr. Ratan Lal defended his post by saying that, no matter what you say, in India, you will hurt someone or others’ sentiments. That is nothing new.
Several people stood in his support saying that he has the right to speech, under Art 19 of the Constitution of India. On the other hand, some people said that. through he has freedom of speech, but as per Article 19(2), there are reasonable restrictions on a person’s freedom of speech. Freedom of Speech does not mean that you can hurt someone’s religious feelings. That is where Section 295A comes in.; But according to Supreme Court, there is some condition in this section.
Supreme Court held that the words being used should be Judged from the standards of reasonable, strong-minded, firm, and courageous people. This section should not be judged from the perspective of weak-willed people, who take personal offence in every matter. Dr. Ratan Lal was put on trial in court, Dr. Ratan Lal has put on trial in the Court, if he is found to be guilty, he will be convicted and punished, and if the charges do not hold, he will be acquitted. Here enters the ex-BJP Spokesperson Nupur Sharma. On 26th May, she appeared on a News24 program and passed some controversial remarks on Islam and Prophet Mohammed.
News anchor Manak Gupta prevents Nupur from saying more. But Nupur did not like the rebuke, so she left program in the middle. Later she tweeted that it is a terrible channel and that she would not go on again. Later the same day, at 7 PM, she appears on Republic Bharat and passed the same comments on Islam and Prophet Mohammed. The anchor on Republic Bharat, Aishwarya, warned her against any personal remarks, and against hurting any religious sentiments. But Nupur Sharma did not stop. At 9 PM she went on Rimes Now and repeated the same things.
One thing to be noted about the controversial statements by Nupur Sharma, this was not a slip of tongue. It was not as if she meant to say something else and said this by mistake. Not was she so furious that she could not control herself? It was not so. Her comments were deliberately made and it was planned in advance. She said the same thing at 3 distinct places. She did not make these statements because she wanted to become a part of a philosophical discussion or she wanted to put across her perspective on history.
She made their remarks because according to her own words, she could not tolerate that some people were insulting the Shivling in her opinion. Because her religious sentiments were being hurt, she wanted to hurt the religious sentiments of others. You can hear her say repeatedly on the channels, “Should I make fun of You?”, and “Should I insult you?”. So the general feeling over there was one of “because I believe my religious sentiments are hurt, I will other people’s religious sentiments”.
The question arises, did she violate Section 295A? Does her comment offend reasonable, strong-minded, firm, and courageous people? The answer to this could be Yea or could be No. It is up to the court to decide. Whether she had hurt religious sentiments or not. As with Dr. Ratan Lal, where an FIR was lodged, he was arrested, and it was left up to the courts to decide whether there was an offence or not? Had the same happened, the matter would have ended right there.
If found guilty, she should have been convicted and punished, or else she would have been acquitted. But no such action was taken against Nupur Sharma. In my opinion, Section 285A should be completely repealed. Since the Section exists, the law and the system should abide by it. What you should be noting is the action and inaction of the police for the same things. Alt News’ fact-checker Mohammed Zubair pointed out another person, i.e., Ilyas Sharafuddin.
A person who is often seen in news debates. In a debate on Zee News, he had openly mocked Hindus, for idol worshipping, and worshipping the Shivling. Zuber and other people demanded action against Sharafuddin. Because he had clearly hurt religious sentiments and mocked them. This debate lasted for around 20-30 minutes, Zee News’ anchor did not stop him either.
It begs the question, do these TV Channels knowingly place a Maulana on one side to insult Hindus, and then place a Hindu on the other side, to insult Muslims? So that the inflammatory speeches continue from both sides, and keep creating controversies for them. So that people’s attention is focused on these insignificant issues.
The thing about this, it is important to do so. After Nupur Sharma, her party colleague, BJP Delhi Media head, Naveen Kumar Jundal. He made several tweets against Islam, Disrespected Prophet Mohammad and Aisha. But there was no action against him either. During this period, Nupur Sharma’s clip and Naveen Jindal’s tweet went viral on the internet. Even Arab countries and 16 countries issued statements against India. These countries demanded an apology from the Indian government. Qatar, Iran, and Kuwait summoned Indian ambassadors, to protest against the remarks and condemn the remarks. In some places, there were slogans for Boycott Indian products.
At a supermarket in Kuwait City, some shelves of rice and spices were wrapped up in plastic sheets, and on them, it was written in Arabic “We have removed Indian products.” The thing about Gulf countries is that what you hear about them on What’s App university keeping that aside, the reality is that these countries are very valuable to India. According to the ORF, India imports 60% of its crude oil from these Persian Gulf Countries. Oman is India’s closest gulf partner, and in 2018, they had given a port to India for better access.
For India’s military and logistical support. According to the MEA, 7.6 million Indians, live in the Middle East. In addition to it, there is a trade angle too. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are India’s third and fourth-largest trading partners. In 2018, the Reserve Bank of India also revealed that 50% of the remittances inflow to India is from these countries.
Oil imports, the market for Indian exports, employment, and foreign reserves, these countries are very valuable to India. And the Indian government is trying quite hard to establish good relations with them. Normally, the Prime Minister does not go to the airport to meet a foreign dignitary, an official or a junior Minister in the government is sent. But in 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke the governmental protocol, and personally went to New Delhi to receive the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabis, Mohammed bin Salman.(Right To Abuse comes Under Freedom Of Speech )
There is another angle to this controversy when the French magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons that lead to protests and uprisings in the Arab countries, French President Macron had actually supported the magazine. Macron had simply said that France stood for Freedom of Speech and that Blasphemy was allowed. That it is allowed to insult religion. So that was their position. But on the other hand, in India, there are laws like Section 295A, that make Blasphemy an offence in order to prevent it.
Looking at the reaction of these Islamic countries, the Modi government went into damage control mode. Indian embassy’s spokespersons said that the tweets did not reflect the views of the Indian government. That the tweets were by ‘Fringe Elements’. ‘Fringe Elements’ can be translated into Hindi as an ignorant person. So the question arose, in the country of 1.4 billion, parties like the BJP find such fringe elements, such as ignorant people, to have them as their party’s spokesperson.
As a result, Nupur Sharma was suspected of the party, and Naveen was expelled. Naveen Jindal deleted his tweet with a simple apology and Nupur Sharma issued an unconstitutional apology. BJP issued a press release, saying that the Bhartiya Janta Party respects all religions. And is strictly against insulting any religion.
Finally, on 8th June, the Delhi Police registered 2 FIRs. One against Nupur Sharma, and the other against 31 people including AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi, and controversial priest, Yati Narsinghananda. They too have allegedly hurt religious sentiments and spread hate. Many people stood in support of Nupur Sharma. Saying that it was her freedom of speech to say so and no FIR should be lodged against her. The same way that there were people supporting Dr. Ratan Lal.
Right To Abuse Comes Under Freedom Of Speech
The people who have an opinion on this issue can be divided into 3 categories.
First is the category of Honest Conservative people. they will not tolerate any criticism against any religion. The people who believe that it is wrong to hurt religious sentiments and both Dr. Ratan and Nupur Sharma have hurt religious sentiments. And so there should be proceedings against both of them.
The second category is Honest Liberal People. They support the freedom of expression. They say that Section 295A should be repealed and Blasphemy should not be a criminal offense. Which of these categories do you belong to?
The third category is the Hypocrite. A person can not tolerate any criticism against their religion, but when it is against another religion, they are ready to put forth endless criticism.
They recall freedom of expression when they mock the religious entities of other religions. But then they recall Section 295A when something is said against their religion or when their sentiments are hurt. Interestingly most people belong to this third category.
After the Comments made by Nupur Sarma, there were many incidents of stone-pelting, vandalism, and violence. AIMIM’s legislator Imtiaz Jaleel called for Nupur to be hanged. In my opinion, this is clearly in the category of Hate Speech. Because they are not hurting anyone’s religious sentiments, rather, they are threatening to kill a person. They are inciting violence against a person.
Right To Abuse comes Under Freedom Of Speech
They should be strict action against such people. Even against people who are becoming violent while protesting and against those Police officers, who are blatantly disregarding law and order, by killing people in custody. Also against those ‘fringe elements’ who actually turn this situation violent. In some areas, in response to the violent protests, the government had used bulldozers. And the people suspected by the government to have been violent while protesting, their homes were demolished by the bulldozers. (For deep understanding please refer to The Problem With Bulldozer Justice)
This too is something that is a blatant disregard for the laws and order. What was the fault of the other family members, when one person in the house did something wrong? Second, the system can never run on such an instant justice model neither can the country. The thing is that even after so much has happened, there continue to be people who make such statements to worsen the situation.
BJP Nigam Parishad Radhika went against the party lines and defended Nupur Sharma. And spewed worse hate speech than Nupur Sharma. Will she be expelled from the party? Will she be arrested? We will have to see whether the Maulana on the News channels will face any actions.
Will the News channels stop giving them a platform? Or whether these actions, the FIRs, arrests demolishing houses with bulldozers, are reserved for the average person. The media persons, and politicians, make a mockery out of us and the system so that the people are engaged in it, and they keep on fighting amongst themselves. In the entire issue, there’s no scope for Hindu-Muslim or Pro BJP-Anti BJP. It is as simple as everyone that turns violent or gives a hate speech, everyone who tries to incite riots, there should be action against all of them.