• ‘Won’t apologise for saying Pakistan is not hell’: Ramya to face sedition case

    Kannada actress turned Congress politician Ramya says she will not apologise for saying that “Pakistan is not hell” even though a lawyer, K Vittal Gowda, in Kodagu has filed a sedition case against her.

    Ramya, who was born Divya Spandana, told NDTV: “I will not apologise as I have done nothing wrong. I am entitled to my views and that is what democracy is about.”

    On her return from Islamabad where she had gone as part of a delegation of young lawmakers, Ramya contradicted defence minister Manohar Parrikar who had said last week that “going to Pakistan is like going to hell”.

    Ramya said: “Pakistan is not hell. People there are just like us. They treated us very well.”

    She was trolled at once on social media for this comment, and Gowda filed a case of sedition against her. The case will be heard on August 27.

    “I can say sorry, it is the easiest thing for me, but if I do it in this case, the purpose is lost,” Ramya told NDTV. “Right now I really need to stand up for myself…What I said is harmless…People trying to spread hatred are legal and people who are civil and trying to bring people together are unlawful – such an irony.”

    Meanwhile, Ramya’s trolls, mainly from the BJP and the RSS student wing ABVP, are demanding that she move to Pakistan, to which Ramya told ANI: “Of course I won’t leave India. It’s my home and I am not going to leave my dogs.”

    The people on Twitter are both for Ramya and against her.

    Ramya has also been attacked for her statement by another Kannada actor turned politician, Jaggesh, according to Huffington Post India. At an ABVP-organised event, Jaggesh said anti-nationals are “mosquitoes and bedbugs” and should be poisoned.

    Sedition and India: 5 things you should know

    • It is section 124-A in the Indian Penal Code
    • It says: “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India’ shall be punished with life imprisonment”
    • However, the law adds: comments expressing disapproval of the “administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offense under this section”
    • It was introduced in the IPC in 1870 and was used by then the  British rulers of India against many leaders of the Indian freedom movement, including Mahatma Gandhi
    • This year, sedition charges have been filed against students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, Hardik Patel, the leader of Gujarat’s Patidar stir, and human rights organisation Amnesty for holding a meeting in troubled Kashmir