Politics

If Ramya Is ‘Seditious’, Gandhi Was Too

Ramya. Credit: PTI/Files

Ramya. Credit: PTI/Files

Karnataka-based actor-politician Ramya has been accused of “sedition” for making positive comments about Pakistan. She has been widely attacked on social media and a case of sedition has been filed against her by a lawyer in Kodagu, NDTV reported.

Ramya said today that she refused to back down and would not apologise for her statements.

Ramya, whose real name is Divya Spandana, is a Kannada film actor and has been a Congress Lok Sabha MP. She recently went to Islamabad as part of a delegation of young lawmakers from SAARC countries, and said, “Pakistan is not hell. People there are just like us. They treated us very well.”

Her statement was in response to defence minister Manohar Parrikar saying last week that “Going to Pakistan is like going to hell”.

“I will not apologise as I have not done nothing wrong. I am entitled to my views and that is what democracy is about,” Ramya told NDTV.

“I can say sorry, it is the easiest thing for me, but if I do it in this case, the purpose is lost. Right now I really need to stand up for myself…What I said is harmless…People trying to spread hatred are legal and people who are civil and trying to bring people together are unlawful – such an irony,” she continued.

“Also, calling Pakistan a good nation can not be seditious,” India Today quoted her as saying.

The case against her, filed by lawyer Katnamane Vittal Gowda, will be heard on Saturday. Gowda was apparently “appalled” that she praised a country that India blames for promoting terrorism.

According to multiple Supreme Court rulings on the law, nobody can be charged with sedition unless they commit violence, organise violence or incite imminent violence.

If Ramya’s comments defending Pakistan as “not hell” classify as “seditious”, the list of people guilty of the crime will increase substantially and will also include none other than Mahatma Gandhi.

Soon after independence, Gandhi said some things that Parrikar, Gowda and all the others attacking Ramya could find equally “appalling”.

The following is an excerpt from Gandhi’s prayer discourse of September 13, 1947, barely a month after independence and partition. It is taken from the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volume 89, as published online by the Gandhi Heritage Portal.

“I went to the Purana Qila today. I saw thousands of Muslims there. Other trucks loaded with Muslims were proceeding towards the Quila. All of them were Muslim refugees… I cannot bear to see them escaping to Pakistan out of panic. It is not as if there is heaven in Pakistan and hell here. Why do we find ourselves in such hell? I know that neither Pakistan nor India is hell. If we wish we can turn either into heaven or by our own deeds into hell. And if both the countries become hell, an independent man has no place there. After that we are only doomed to slavery. This thought is gnawing at my heart. My heart trembles and I wonder how I will make any Hindu, Sikh or Muslim understand all this… No one would ever want to leave behind his house and property. The Hindu refugees are in the same situation. They have left behind their homes and properties… It is a matter of shame for everybody.”

  • Mutineer57

    Why so big fuss about the issue of Ramiya? She might have said it for publicity and it clicked in her favor. The complainant is private citizen and file complaint if he sees it worthy, may be this is for him also publicity. Let court decide instead of creating media circus.

  • RamDarshanSharma

    Looks like a descent is not tolerated on this site.

  • Anjan Basu

    My god! What are we all coming to! Here is someone who went to Pakistan and merely said that it would be wrong to demonize the whole country. That could have been the only reaction, as I see it, of any ordinary, decent human being who went on a trip to another country and was treated decently there. And we start calling her names and dubbing her ‘pro-Pakistani’! Is our descent into barbarity so complete that we fail to recognise even the most basoc human traits in another person? What a shame this is for all of us!

  • K SHESHU BABU

    If what she says is ‘ sedition’ , Milton said ‘ mind is a place : it makes hell heaven and heaven hell,’ and is this a sedition too…!!!???

  • Mutineer57

    First of all what this Ramya issue blown out of proportion? The target to media not to promote Ramya but the government of the day.

  • VIVEK

    You have a point there. Pak treatment of its minority is very very reprehensible.

  • VIVEK

    Please list down the name of countries which one cannot be “pro” while living in India.
    That will enlighten your fellow countrymen/women.