Resisting Legalese 

Resisting Legalese 
A struggle for political and human rights is also fundamentally a fight against a set or body of laws that are used by the State or the oppressor to deny those rights. The recent events at Jawaharlal Nehru University surrounding the anniversary of the hanging of Afzal Guru, and the debates that followed have highlighted that bringing about truth is actually about the right to freedom of expression as much as it is about freedom after expression. It is the latter freedom that begs a focus on certain laws that deny the freedom after freely expressing a political desire or position. In Kashmir, freely expressing and propounding the political position for the right to self determination has often landed activists and supporters of this position in jail. Hundreds, perhaps thousands have been incarcerated, particularly since the movement for right to self determination in Kashmir took a definite turn during  the late 1980s. And, the law most often used to put political activists and resistance leaders away in Kashmir is the Public Safety Act or PSA, that Amnesty International has described as a “lawless law”. This draconian law has been widely criticised for its use against persons who have publically disagreed with the status quo on Kashmir or are struggling against it. But when constitutional freedoms clash with the State’s position, however much contrary to history it may be, PSA is deployed to take away those freedoms in absence of the rest of the body of law delivering the State’s objective. Varyingly representative voices are constantly put away, very often in defiance of courts ordering release of political prisoners incarcerated under PSA. The repeated use of the PSA against certain kinds of political voices, adherents of the principle of self determination, is testimony to the reality that a perfectly legal stance, upheld in international law, is met with an abusive and repeated enforcement of the PSA  that even the courts cannot regulate. This takes the law of PSA outside the existing judicial system. The only option to change this untenable reality may be to begin resisting the law that contravenes a fundamental freedom. The continued existence of PSA makes farcical the rest of the body of law that ostensibly grants rights to citizens. A protest movement for political rights of the masses must begin to explore ways to resist laws that silence rather than respond to demands of basic political rights. The battle of winning rights is also a battle for making laws like the PSA extinct and a future without it.

One Response to "Resisting Legalese "

  1. mehraj   March 3, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    zabardast….beautifully written


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