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“Criticism Is Neither Crime Nor Sedition,” Says JNU Scholar Booked For Tweets On Army & RSS

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) research scholar Sajid Bin Sayed, who was booked for allegedly “promoting hate” over his tweet criticising the Indian Army and the right-wing RSS, said that expressing one’s views is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution and that criticism is neither crime nor accounts to sedition.

Sajid Bin Sayed, who is also the president of the Campus Front of India (CFI), was booked under section 153A IPC (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 504 IPC (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) on the basis of this tweet — a screenshot of which was given to the police: “Indian Military execute systematic genocide of Kashmiris which is devised by RSS. The BJP govt should stop their territorial greed and be ready to accept Kashmiris’ right to self determination guaranteed by UN. It’s high time to intervene in the issue by international bodies. #Kashmir (sic)”

The case was filed against Sajid with Kapashera police station in Delhi on July 8, based on a complaint by one Tajinder Yadav, a BJP worker. The complainant claims the tweet as “anti-national” and having elements that demonize the Indian Army and the government.

Refuting the allegations against, Sajid who spoke to The Cognate said that, “criticizing a government is neither crime nor seditious. Expressing views is a fundamental right guaranteed by our Constitution and I availed it. I spoke about the rights of Kashmiris who have been facing discrimination. Everybody knows about RSS’s motives in Kashmir issue and I believe that it should be exposed. Honourable Supreme Court prohibited charging or arresting persons over social media comments in Singhal vs. Union of India. I’m not aware of the complainant but came to know from the media that he is a BJP worker who normally gets annoyed in the dissent.”

“The army guards our country and a reputed force is supposed to serve the people of India as any other forces. They should be politically neutral as per law. It doesn’t mean that nobody can criticize them if any violation is reported. Dissent is a very important idea in a democracy. I am not the first person criticizing them on their actions. It should be discussed in the public domain and it is not a crime,” Sajid responded.

Activists and social media users have criticised the case against Sajid alleging that it is a ploy of the government to stifle dissent.

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