4th September 2018
Should communists have freedom of speech? or should they be arrested at the drop of a hat on trumped charges?
This question has arisen given the recent arrests of communist academics, lawyers and activists in India.
I wanted to study this in some detail but having limited time and never having heard of these people, I spent a few minute to explore 78 year old P Varavara Rao, a Telugu poet who is now under house arrest. He is apparently involved in a conspiracy to kill Modi.
First of all, there is a wiki page on this man: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varavara_Rao
One notes that he has a long history of being arrested by Indian police forces on various trumped up charges. HE WAS ACQUITTED IN ALL CASES, DESPITE HAVING SPENT MANY YEARS IN INDIAN JAILS.
One can see blood and anger seething inside him through his poems. An example:
Cities are hugger muggered
By the long arms of multinationals
Exploiters funnel chimney fumes
Right in the heart of cities
They are neither alive nor dead
Yet, burning top to toe
They spout fire and brimstone
Declare ‘death is none but capitalism’
People will kill
In a civil war
Capitalism on its deathbed
Inhaling war and exhaling poison gas
People will kill.
He sees the work of capitalists and multinationals against the poor, everywhere. He dreams in his poems of people uprising against the capitalists.
So is he a criminal merely for thinking that there should be an uprising against capitalists?
MY ANSWER: NO. A VEHEMENT NO.
I believe everyone is entitled to his views and even if he thinks the solution lies in violence, he must have the right to express it. Unless he DIRECTLY AND IMMEDIATELY INCITES violence, he cannot be declared guilty of violence.
In this particular case, my preliminary analysis shows that the charges against these persons are trumped up, as always.
I am beginning to have serious concerns about the law under which these persons have been arrested. The draconian law itself needs to be changed and potentially abolished.