Sedition being camouflaged as freedom of speech: Amit Shah

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New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) Sedition is being camouflaged as freedom of speech and BJP will not tolerate it, party president Amit Shah said on Saturday and urged party workers to create “awareness” across the country against “anti-national activities”.

“BJP workers should work on creating awareness across the country against the anti-national activities.

“Sedition is being camouflaged as freedom of expression. In the name of expression of freedom, the debate on anti-national slogans is being turned in another direction,” he said in his address at the party’s national executive at the NDMC convention centre here.

“Anti-national slogans were raised openly in the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University. It was not wrong on (Congress vice president) Rahul Gandhi’s part to go to JNU, but speaking in support of anti-national elements there can never be called right,” he said.

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Citing the Emergency, when the Congress “crushed the voices of the common people during the period”, he said that it had no right to lecture others.

Asserting that the BJP will “never tolerate such anti-national slogans”, he said: “We support freedom of expression, but conspiracy to break the unity and integrity of the nation will not be supported.”

“Bharat Mata ki Jai has been our inspiration for years,” he added.

Shah also said that India’s unity were due to the unification of states by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and the constitution brought together by Bhimrao Ambedkar.

Quoting from his speech, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Shah stressed criticism of the government is fine, but the criticism of nation will not be accepted.

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“The Left parties and the Congress are questioning our commitment to freedom of expression. Criticism of the party, leader and government is fully permissible but criticism of the nation shall not be acceptable,” he quoted the party chief as saying.

Shah also took a dig at the Left parties for accusing the government of suppressing freedom of expression.

“Those who worship Maoism and follow Stalin are talking about freedom of speech and expression,” he said.

On the recent controversy of chanting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” after MIM leader Asadudduin Owaisi refused to say it, he said: “Chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ is in the country since the days of independence. So, after 68 years of freedom, the country will debate whether it should be chanted or not?”

Praising the work of the Narendra Modi government and also hailing Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s 2016-17 budget, he said: “The programmes initiated by the Modi government have proven to be a game-changer. This success of the Modi government must be conveyed to the people of India.”

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Shah accused the Congress of creating hurdles for the government and asked BJP cadres to tell people about its “anti-development approach”.

“Congress and its vice president Rahul Gandhi are suffering from every kind of negative mentality. That is why they have nothing to do except levying false and senseless charges against the Modi government,” he said.

Shah hoped the party will perform better in the upcoming assembly elections.

“The BJP is rising even in unknown territories. We are a serious player in the coming elections,” he said.

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