On March 5, 2014 sixty seven Kashmiri students studying in the Swami Vivekanand Subharti University in Meerut, UP, were expelled from the University. The University authorities in connivance with the state machinery booked the students on grave charges of “sedition” and for “promoting enmity between different groups”. What was the reason? Allegedly some students cheered for the Pakistani team while they were watching an India- Pakistan match on March 2, 2014! It is alleged that there were clashes between students cheering for India and those cheering for Pakistan which resulted in damage to some hostel property.
Not only did the Vice Chancellor of the University act in a partisan manner and only target the Kashmiri students, declaring them "anti-national", the authorities actually organized to ensure that the UP police booked these students under section 124 A (sedition), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 427 (mischief) of IPC.
Such an action reflects the growing fascisation of Indian society. It deserves the widest condemnation.
This news provoked condemnation of the university authorities as well as the UP police by a majority of people, forcing the UP police to backtrack and withdraw the sedition charges. At the same time, leaders of various bourgeois parties supported the action against the Kashmiri students, endorsing the official view that the students had shown “disrespect” for the country through their action. The BJP, which is staking claims to come to power after the coming elections, actually lodged a complaint to the Election Commission of Uttar Pradesh that the withdrawal of sedition charges amounted to a "violation of the model code of conduct".
On the one hand, the Indian State and its political representatives claim to be the biggest democracy in the world. On the other hand, it cannot tolerate personal views that are contrary to the official view in matters such as support for a cricket team! It calls it seditious – waging war against the State.
Ever since the colonial rulers organized for the bloody division of the sub-continent, the Indian ruling class has consistently promoted enmity between the peoples of India and Pakistan, has whipped up anti-Pakistan jingoism and has waged war against the people of Muslim faith in our country. The Indian ruling class has fostered a deep insecurity among the people of Muslim faith through repeated organizations of communal violence and massacres. At the same time it has ruled over the Kashmiri nation by military force, muzzled their aspirations for self-determination by use of the army and security forces and criminalized all dissent of the Kashmiri people. To cap this, the Indian ruling class has demanded that the Kashmiri people and all Indians of Muslim faith must prove their "patriotism" by taking sides against Pakistan in cricket and hockey matches! The same Indian ruling class has no problem if someone proudly cheered and applauded US and British sporting teams, promoted individual players from these countries, even in matches against India or other countries of the sub-continent.
The charge of provoking enmity between different groups that has been laid at the students is the biggest falsehood. There has been continuous pressure from the Indian and Pakistani people living in the Punjab and J&K that there should be social and cultural exchanges between them, so that families that were torn apart in 1947 can re-unite, so that all opportunities for peace can be encouraged, and to minimize the tension between the two countries. Time and again it has been shown that it is the Anglo American imperialists, and their agencies in India and Pakistan, who are the biggest roadblock to peace in the subcontinent. On the other hand, the so called "patriotism" that the ruling class promotes, is to lick the boots of Anglo American imperialists, and spew hatred against the neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan. The ruling class has found it to be in its interest to maintain hostilities and keep blaming Pakistan for the disruption of so-called confidence building measures and “peace talks”.
A very dangerous situation is developing in our country. The State is threatening anyone who has a contrary view with being seditious. One cannot speak for justice, for the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people or express a view in favour of the Pakistani people. There is need for people to unite and fight this growing fascism.