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BJP and freedom of speech

The IT cell chief of the BJP, Amit Malviya said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not ignore anyone or block anyone on social media because he is firmly committed to freedom of speech. It concerns the murder of Gauri Lankesh. But this week the BJP has slapped a legal notice on the historian, Ramachandra Guha for his views on the murder of Gauri Lankesh. The BJP should be aware that it is watched closely worldwide for its views on curbs on individual freedom. The current controversy over Guha diminishes the ruling government’s stature. The charge made by the BJP is without merit and cannot stand in court. Guha drew attention to the climate of hate and suspicion which, according to him, the ruling government has fostered. Thousands of people, he said, share his concern. He however did not drop any hints about the suspected role of the RSS and the BJP in the killing of Gauri Lankesh. In fact, he emphasised that some freelancers who were not concerned about the limits of their freedom of expression exposed critics of the ruling government to the charge of being anti-national.

Those who drafted the legal notice were aware of the loopholes in it. They had complained merely about the hurt sentiments of thousands of members of the RSS and the BJP. The matter could drag on in court for a number of years and finally the result could be negative. But the allegation of silencing and wasting the time of a writer cannot be denied. It will have a depressing effect on all votaries of freedom of speech.  The ruling party cannot anyway gain from the legal proceedings. 

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