Students, teachers and members of the higher education fraternity have questioned the government’s acts to disrupt the academic future and career of students by slapping sedition charges against them. A sedition charge for a trivial reason like a two-line slogan during a protest can sabotage the entire life of a student, does the government realise the intensity, questioned members of the Students’ Union of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.
This move has come after a TISS student Urvashi (Kris) Chudawala was booked for raising slogans during the Mumbai Pride at Azad Maidan on February 1. A FIR was filed against Chudawala and since then the whereabouts of Chudawala are unknown. On Thursday, TISS Students’ Union stood in support with Chudawala blaming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for disrupting the career and maligning the reputation of TISS.
Do the politicians, government and police realise that a student’s life will have no future due to these sedition charges, questioned a senior teacher from TISS on request of anonymity. The teacher said, “Students will have to suffer the repercussions of an FIR, make several rounds to the court and the police station. It will be held in their record and students may lose employment opportunities or possible admissions for higher education if they have a police record in their name. And all this just because they participated in an open protest or raised slogans based on their personal opinion. Why are politicians misusing their power?”
If the government wants to curb freedom of expression or right to protest then why give it in the first place?, questioned a senior teacher of the Mumbai University (MU). The teacher said, “In the last three months, we have witnessed violence and charges against students who have tried to disagree with the government. We have a secular society and we will always have a difference of opinion. But, nobody has the right to enforce their rule because some youngsters voice against it.”
Members of TISS students’ union highlighted nobody has acknowledged the fact that Chudawala also read the Preamble of the Constitution of India during the protest. A member of the union said, “Everybody is just highlighting that Chudawala raised slogans about the ongoing turmoil at Assam but nobody is pointing out the fact that the student read the preamble. Protesting and raising slogans is a right and personal choice. Doesn’t the government have better problems to deal with?”