After the Ramjas College incidence, Shazia Ilmi seems to be making news about how her speech was cancelled by the Jamia University and how this is an attempt to stifle Freedom of Speech.
There are certain people who are trying to draw a parallel between these two incidences.
It does appear that these people have no clue about Freedoms of Speech and Democratic Rights.
While there are conflicting reports as to the Shazia Ilmi incident, let us go strictly by Shazia’s version of what happened and try and understand the concept of Freedom of Speech and attempts to stifle it.
Let me try and take you step by step through the incidences and the parallels.
1. Ramjas college had invited Umar Khalid to speak at their event….. SO FAR SO GOOD.
2. The ABVP did not want Umar Khalid (who they think is an Anti-National) to speak at the event ….. Fair Enough. They have a right to think what they want to and a right to protest.
3. The ABVP protested against this event and wrote to the Ramjas Administration to withdraw the speech of Umar Khalid …. ABVP was well within their democratic rights to do so.
4. The Ramjas College cancelled Umar Khalid’s speech … While this might be considered as “succumbing to pressure” this is still not a stifling on anyone’s Freedom of Speech. It was a management decision taken by the Ramjas college for reasons they know best about.
5. The SFI and AISA protested against the Ramjas Administration succuming to ABVP pressure by taking out a protest march ….. They were exercising their Democratic Rights to Peaceful Protest.
Till this point, as far as I understand, there has been no Stifling of Free Speech and No destruction of anyone’s rights by any party. At the worse the Ramjas college can be accused of being a cowardly Administration who could not stand up against the ABVP pressure.
And here is where things get murkier.
6. The ABVP students pelted stones against the protesting SFI, AISA students. They were beaten up as the Police stood up, along with the sympathetic Professors…… This is what becomes a direct attack on someone exercising their Democratic Rights.
7. Gurmehar Kaur stood up against the ABVP via a Social Media post. She was abused, threatened with death and rape, bullied to such an extent that she had to flee the very city she lived in ….. This is where the Freedom of Speech was stifled.
Where, Shazia Ilmi’s case is concerned, even as per her version, she was invited to speak at the Jamia and then under pressure her invitation was cancelled and she is now protesting against it.
This is covered in points 1 to 4 mentioned above, since parallels are being drawn.
As far as I see there are no Democratic Rights being snatched away and no Stifling of Freedom of Speech that Shazia Ilmi and her supporters are lamenting about.
Shazia Ilmi is still making statements everywhere she can, she is not being abused, she is not being given death threats and no one is saying that she and all the women in her family should raped.
No one has pelted stones or beaten up Shazia or any of her supporters.
It is pretty clear that the people who are trying to draw a parallel between the Ramjas Incident and Shazia Ilmi’s lamenting have got no clue as to what Freedom of Speech and Democratic Rights stand for.
Perhaps, if they spent more time in understanding these concepts rather than trying to issue Certificates of Liberalism to others, they will figure out the difference.
But then again, thats too much to ask from these Nationalists whose only idea of Nationalism and Democracy starts and ends with BJP.
Disclaimer: Comparing Shazia Ilmi’s incidence with Ramjas incidence is as stupid as comparing Pineapple Juice with Coconut water …. I mean, who does that?? Who….?? 😉