The lion inside the sedition circus – By Sugata Srinivasaraju

It has been two-years-and-six-months since Gauri Lankesh, activist and editor of a Kannada weekly, was killed. In the eyes of her assassins, she was a symbol of dissent who frequently crossed the line for two decades – ever since she took over her father’s outrageously bold weekly newspaper. If her death had really struck fear into the hearts of liberals, there should have been an eerie quiet. Karnataka has instead emerged as one of the many Ground Zeros of the nationwide anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests and the site of a slew of sedition charges in recent weeks.

Curiously, the lawyer intricately entangled in each of these sedition cases is Lankesh’s former lawyer, Bubberjung Trisuli Venkatesh, a senior advocate and former state public prosecutor. Bubberjung is a moniker or a nickname, which means “the man who fought like a lion”.… Venkatesh defended Lankesh in over 70 cases across a 20-year period. To get the chronology of Karnataka’s early-2020 spree of sedition charges right, there are essentially five different cases which have attracted extreme provisions of the law in frighteningly quick succession.

First, it was the case of a student, Nalini Balakumar, in Mysuru. Then, it was minors who performed in a political play at a school in Bidar. At around the same time, the case of Koppal poet, Siraj Bisaralli, acquired prominence. Then, three Kashmiri engineering students in Hubli made news. Latest is the case of activist Amulya Leona in Bengaluru. If one were to calculate the average age of those being prosecuted by the state, it is a ridiculous low 15 years.

SEE ALSO

Who ‘United Against Hate’ Are And Why Amit Shah is Targeting Them – By Aditya Menon (Mar 13, 2020, The Quint)

https://www.thequint.com/news/politics/united-against-hate-amit-shah-khalif-saifi-hate-crimes-delhi-violence

Safeguard undermined: sedition charges on Kanhaiya Kumar – Editorial (Mar 3, 2020, The Hindu)

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/safeguard-undermined-sedition-charges-on-kanhaiya-kumar/article30965449.ece

In the dock – Editorial (Mar 6, 2020, Indian Express)

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/delhi-violence-clashes-maujpur-babarpur-chand-bagh-6301437/

India does not need a sedition law – By Kaleeswaram Raj (Mar 12, 2020, New Indian Express)https://www.newindianexpress.com/opinions/2020/mar/12/india-does-not-need-a-sedition-law-2115553.html

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