Politician-actress Ramya, who is being accused of sedition, said that she will not apologise for her comments on Pakistan as ‘this would go against the cause that everyone is fighting against’.
“I will not apologise as I have done nothing wrong. I am entitled to my views and that is what democracy is about. 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,” she was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Ramya, a former Congress MP from Mandya constituency, after a recent visit to Pakistan to attend the SAARC meeting of young parliamentarians in Islamabad, had spoken to media about how the people of Pakistan welcomed her and went out of their way to make her stay comfortable on getting to know she was from India. “Pakistan is not hell. People there are just like us. They treated us very well,” she had said, in reference to the Defence Minister Mahonar Parikar’s remark that “going to Pakistan is like going to hell.”
On Tuesday, an advocate named Katnamane Vittal Gowda from Karnataka, lodged a complaint of sedition against her at a Kodagu station under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 124-A (sedition), accusing her of ‘insulting India and provoking Indians to become Pakistan sympathisers’.
Several members of local Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have also demanded an apology from Ramya.
In response to the abuse and trolls against her, Ramya wrote on Indian Express blog “It is understandable to hold Pakistan’s military and government to account for their conduct, but when civil society in our neighbouring land holds out a hand of friendship to us, I think it is essential we welcome the effort.”
“What these self appointed ‘nationalists’ want is to drum up hysteria and ensure that we never find solutions to longstanding problems. Theirs is a patriotism that begins and ends at making noise on the street—after all it is easy to gather a horde of bullies and demonstrate. It may get them prime time TV attention, but peace building requires a little more nuance and effort,” she wrote on the blog.
“Delusion arises from anger.Mind is bewildered by delusion.Reasoning is destroyed when mind is bewildered”- the Gita pic.twitter.com/Gcedc7XtQg
— Divya Spandana/Ramya (@divyaspandana) August 21, 2016
A number of people have backed Ramya for her stand,
— Sanjay Nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) August 23, 2016
Sedition charge against #Ramya shows depth to which BJP Govt has sunk. Sedition has become tool of witch hunting agst Political opponents
— RKHURIA (@rkhuria) August 23, 2016
— Swara Bhaskar (@ReallySwara) August 23, 2016
However, many have resorted to spewing hate against her on social media:
— Kumar Gaurav Dubey (@kumar_gaurav007) August 23, 2016
@divyaspandana Trying to rope in new movie deal with this manufactured controversy? 😛
— Evolved Monkey (@evolvedmonkey82) August 23, 2016
— Sanjaay (@sansumman) August 23, 2016
— P. Emmanuel Prakash (@emmi_p) August 23, 2016
— पुरुषोत्तम (@108purushottam) August 23, 2016
At the forefront of opposing her comments is Sandalwood director Jaggesh, who had a fallout with Ramya over his film Neer Dosa. At an ABVP event protesting against ‘anti-nationalism’. Jaggesh reportedly said, “People who have not studied and don’t have any experience are praising Pakistan. They should be given a peace prize, maybe a Nobel. They should also be allowed to stand next to Bill Clinton and take photos.” He even likened ‘anti-nationals’ to mosquitoes and bugs who ought to be poisoned.
Thus far, the complaint will be heard by Judge Shyam Prakash on 27 August. Meanwhile, Karnataka’s Congress government is currently facing a wave of criticism over a different sedition case. Local ABVP and RSS members filed a sedition complaint against Amnesty International over a Kashmir-related event last week where slogans of Azadi (freedom).
Photo Courtesy: KollyStills.com