The expulsion of Kashmiri students from a university in Meerut in Utter Pradesh over the ‘charge’ of cheering Pakistan’s win against India in a cricket match and their subsequent booking on charges of sedition indicates the level of intolerance that has gripped the Indian society at large. It cannot be described as but highly unfortunate that a society which boasts of and takes pride in Gandhian philosophy of Ahimsa has metamorphosed into a fascist entity which doesn’t tolerate even the legal exercise of rights guaranteed in her own constitution. The Constitution of India, besides guaranteeing freedom of Speech, Expression and Religion enshrines the freedom of Conscience of each and every individual on the Indian soil. In presence of freedom of Speech, Expression and Religion, what does freedom of Conscience stand for? Legally, it is the right guaranteed to every individual on the Indian soil, whether he is citizen of the country or not, to have his personal belief and stand on any matter as per his own conscience. This, besides being a basic human right is also guaranteed in India’s constitution as a fundamental right. If the Kashmiri students acted as per their own conscience in a peaceful manner, they were exercising the right enshrined in the Constitution of India. Those who were infuriated by the simple act of celebration by a few dozen Kashmiri students and resorted to physical violence against them were actually the ones who were tearing apart the rationale of the Indian constitution and trampling under their feet Indian political elites’ assumptions of being a secular democratic country. But since this unconstitutional act was committed in the name of so-called patriotism, the act elicited tacit appreciation even from the chief minister of the Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, who, tweeted his disapproval for the Kashmiri students and, dubbed them as “misguided.” Given the Saffronization Indian society is undergoing, there is little surprise over the behavior of fellow students and reaction of authorities in the said University who suspended Kashmiri students for an indefinite period. However, the reaction of Omar Abdullah on the incident is nothing less irrational. Abdullah was expected to take strong notice of the suspension of the students by the varsity and defend their legal right.
But, he did otherwise. May be, in election season, Abdullah cannot afford to annoy New Delhi or majority in India by endorsing the supporters of an `enemy’ state.