Public policing of individuals’ patriotic credentials is not a good advertisement for any democracy. The latest such instance—a Karnataka lawyer has registered a sedition case against actor-politician Ramya for suggesting that Pakistan is not quite hell—has plumbed the depths of the absurd. Before this, there was the brouhaha over an Amnesty International-organized event in Bengaluru.
To bandy the term about as it has been over the past few months is to cheapen both the idea of patriotism and the principles of a liberal democracy. Both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are to blame; if the latter overreacted to the JNU incident and indulged in chest-thumping rhetoric about what makes a loyal citizen, the former displayed ample hypocrisy in Bengaluru.
They aren’t the only ones. The Bihar government hasn’t stinted in charging people with sedition either. It is well past time that the archaic law was scrapped.