news Monday, January 05, 2015 - 05:30
Haritha John | The News Minute | October 15, 2014 | 9.32 pm IST “I never stand up when the National Anthem is sung and have no plans to do it in future too, because I think we should do what we believe in,” says Salman Mohemmed, a student who has spent many days in jail under charges of sedition. Salman is a 25-year-old philosophy student from Kerala was arrested on 20 August 2014 from his house after a police complaint was filed against him and his friends for not standing up when the national anthem was being played in a state-owned movie theatre called Nila in Thiruvananthapuram.  Salman was also accused of howling while the anthem was played, the complainants also mentioned that Salman who calls himself an anarchist had “insulted” India in a Facebook post and it had hurt their sentiments. Salman in a Facebook post on Independence Day had altered a patriotic song and replaced some words with abuses. He was charged with sedition under Section 124A, Section 66A of the Information Technology Act and Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. The District and Sessions court denied Salman bail declaring his offence as very serious, but he was finally granted bail by the High Court of Kerala. Though Salman got support from a section of the media, most of the mainstream media in Kerala had questioned his act. This however has not intimidated him and he says, “I am an anarchist and don’t believe in nationalism and patriotism. My politics is anarchism.” He may not believe in being patriotic, but was there a need to create an abusive parody on a patriotic song? “I find Facebook is a good medium to express my views. I have my freedom to express myself through my own facebook page. I am not worried about what others think about me. I articulate my political ideology there,” Salman says. Salman recounted what happened during and after his arrest. “The police knocked on my door at 11.30 pm on August 19th and took me away. I didn’t know where they were taking me. I did not face any physical torture but mental torture was unbearable. Some policemen, only some, have asked me to go to Pakistan. They called me a Pakistan spy and terrorist. Why didn’t they call me a Chinese spy? How can someone connect one’s politics with religion? My bail request was rejected by Sessions and Districts court considering my offence was as serious as a murder.” Salman maintains that what has got him into trouble are his atheist and anarchist views, but he says he will hold on to them. He has a long legal battle ahead, but his case has become a huge point of debate. While there are those who believe that slapping sedition charges is just not justified, others say people like Salman need to be taught a lesson.
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