Thursday, 31 December 2015

Asiya Andrabi

I am against almost everything Asiya Andrabi stands for and advocates.
She advocates freedom for Kashmir, while I advocate reunification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh ( and including Kashmir ) under a strong secular government which does not tolerate religious extremism or bigotry of any kind, whether Hindu, Muslim or Sikh. 

The main problem for our subcontinent is poverty, unemployment, malnourishment, lack of healthcare, etc which can only be solved by rapid industrialization on a massive scale, for only large scale industry will generate the wealth we require for the welfare of our people.. But for that we must have a large market for the goods produced by this industry, and for that we must have larger units, not smaller.

Asiya is in favour of burqa and/or hijab for Muslim women, while I hate it as being oppressive to women and a symbol of obscurantism, feudalism, stupidity and backwardness. Islam spread from Spain to present day Indonesia because of its great message of equality, and therefore it was a great emancipator, and led to social emancipation for the downtrodden. But today's Islam as preached by Wahabis, Salafis and people like Asiya Andrabi has become a great enslaving force.

 However, that having been said, I am against persecution and harrassmen of Ayisa and like minded people, and support their right to say what they want
 In a recent meeting in Chandigarh organized by the Sikh Human Rights Organization, which was attended by over 600 persons including a large number of Sikhs, I referred to the recent Sarbat Khalsa meeting in Amritsar on November 10th in which some people voiced their demand for Khalistan. Many people, including many organizers of the function, were arrested, chargesheeted for sedition, etc and harassed in many ways.

 I said in the function that mere demand for Khalistan is no crime. Many people in India demand independence for their states or regions, e.g. in Kashmir, North East, etc. and they have freedom of speech under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution to do so. After all, in a democracy, people must be allowed to let out steam.

 It is only if they go beyond that and (1) commit acts of violence, or (2) organize a violent organization, or (3) incite persons to imminent violence that it becomes a crime. This was held by the Indian Supreme Court in Sri Indra Das vs. State of Assam, 2011 ( see online ). In that decision the Supreme Court followed several decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court .

  Thus, in Noto vs. U.S. 367 US 290(297-298) Mr. Justice Harlan of the U.S. Supreme Court observed :
." The mere teaching of Communist theory, including the teaching of the moral propriety or even moral necessity for a resort to force and violence, is not the same as preparing a group for violent action and steeling it to such action. There must be some substantial direct or circumstantial evidence of a call to violence now or in the future which is both sufficiently strong and sufficiently pervasive to lend colour to the otherwise ambiguous theoretical material regarding Communist Party teaching."

Similarly, in Brandenburg vs. Ohio, 395 US 444(1969), the U.S. Supreme Court by a unanimous decision observed : 

"The Constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." 

    In Whitney vs. California  274 US 357 (1927)   Mr. Justice Brandeis, the celebrated Judge of the U.S. Supreme Court in his concurring judgment (which really reads like a dissent) observed :
"Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burned women. It is the function of free speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. To justify suppression of free speech there must be reasonable ground to fear that serious evil will result if free speech is practiced. There must be reasonable ground to believe that the danger apprehended is imminen The wide difference between advocacy and incitement, between preparation and attempt, between assembling and conspiracy, must be borne in mind."
   Mr. Justice Brandeis in the same judgment went on to observe :
"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence." 

 So unless there is cogent and credible ( i.e. non manufactured ) evidence of Asiya and others like her committing violence or organizing a violent organization or inciting people of Kashmir to imminent violence she and others have a right to say what they want, including the demand for freedom for Kashmir ( which I personaly disapprove of ).

After all, words break no bones

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