Student freedom not above national interest: Naidu

Student freedom not above national interest: Naidu

MUMBAI: Maintaining that freedom of speech is not without restrictions, Union Minister Ven­kaiah Naidu on Friday warned that any attempt aimed at dis­turbing the country’s unity and integrity won’t be tolerated.
“Dissent is agreeable but dis­integration (of the nation) is not at all agreeable and this govern­ment will not allow that,” he said at the India Today Conclave here referring to the recent violence at Ramjas College in Delhi.
“Our government is not going to compromise on the unity and integ­rity of the country,” he said, adding anybody who takes the law into his/her hands must be condemned.
The Information and Broad­casting minister said if someone had a difference of opinion, they can do so but without harming the sentiment of others.
“You have to understand the sensitivities in our nation. We have many castes, religions, re­gional disparities…hundreds of languages and many other com­plexities. If somebody tries to hurt the sentiment of another sec­tion of the society, there will be some reactions as well,” he said.
On the rising incidents of violence in university/college campuses, Naidu said out of the 740 universities, students of only six or seven varsities were creat­ing issues. Mocking the slogans that students of Ramjas College had allegedly chanted during the campus violence last month, (ala Freedom for Kashmir, Freedom for Bastar; Afzal Guru your work is incomplete, we will come and complete your unfinished agen­da) Naidu wondered what was left there for the students to complete.
“Afzal Guru wanted to blast our Parliament. Thanks to God and the sacrifices of our soldiers, we were all saved. These people want to see to the remaining agen­da of Afzal Guru, but how can an­ybody accept this?” he asked.
Pointing out that even Article 19 which guarantees freedom of speech and expression, provides for reasonable restrictions, he said everybody should keep this in mind and must exercise re­straint while speaking on sensi­tive issues.

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