Dissent is Not A Crime, Says Hamid Ansari

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Former vice president of India Mr Hamid Ansari speaking at the function in New Delhi on Monday.

Ghazanfar Abbas | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — “There is a word called dissent. My freedom of thought and expression is guaranteed in the Constitution. Therefore that covers my freedom to disagree too as I would like to say. How am I be criminalised for exercising the law that has been given,” said Hamid Ansari, former vice president of India while speaking at the event “Dialogue of Democracy, Diversity and Inclusion” in New Delhi on Monday.

Elaborating further he said,” Look at the governments of the day whether at state or center. The law is same for big and small. It permits me to express my views. The law does not permit me to break somebody else’s head because he does not express my views.”

Renowned social activist Aruna Roy delivering her speech at the programme said: “People are dubbing dissent as sedition. They are afraid to say that this is wrong. Problem is we are not against anybody. The problem is we are unable to evaluate what is just and unjust. If there is no right to speak, there is no democracy.”

“You call me Naxal, or urban Naxal. That’s the definition you decide for me. I don’t like this definition and discarded it. I think this has to be a big voice. We have to argue. I am anti government, I am anti establishment, I am anti any project or decision but I don’t reject the Constitution of the country. I don’t reject the fact that India is a Republic. I just don’t like your decision. Like in the decision of demonetisation, I have right to say that you have not consulted me. Why should I say that I like that decision while I was not the party in that. You didn’t consult me,” she said.

She further said, “I respect your office but as per right to equality, the Prime Minister and the President are equal to me being citizen of the same country.”

The program was organized by Rajasthan-based Loktantrashala (School of Democracy) along with Delhi School of Social Work at Delhi University.

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