Efforts to silence dissent dangerous for democracy

Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and CNS Columnist
The decision by IIT Madras to de-recognise Ambedkar Periyar Student Circle is condemnable as it is clear violation of freedom of speech and expression, to form association or unions and to assemble peaceably and without arms as part of Article 19 of the Constitution of India. Criticising government policies like use of Hindi and ban on beef and ‘ghar wapsi’ programmes of RSS affiliated organisations cannot be construed as creating ‘hatred’ agasint the PM Narendra Modi or Hindus.

There is a significant Hindu population within the country which doesn’t support the views held by government or RSS. Freedom of expression implies that State cannot prohibit criticism of executive action. Dissent is an important ingredient of democracy. Attempts by government or Hindutva groups to silence dissent are not healthy practices within a democracy. That it  has happened in an institution of higher learning is all the more serious.

The Hindutva groups with the help of government are trying to infiltrate the educational institutions and organise their programmes and activities on campus while preventing people and groups who do not agree with their ideology to express their views. Attempts to vitiate the atmosphere of academic campuses by Hindutva groups should be stopped.

Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and CNS Columnist
30 May 2015
(The author is the national vice president of Socialist Party (India). Follow him on Twitter @sandeep4justice)