deshkosh entry on the misuse of sedition laws in Narendra Modi's India

Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code defines "sedition", roughly, to be the act of inciting disaffection towards the government. The sedition law has been used as a tool to stifle protest and freedom of expression by consecutive governments in India. In particular it has been widely misused since the Narendra Modi government came to power at the centre in 2014.

For example, the law has been used against human rights defenders[1], student activists[2], Adivasi activists[3], Dalit activists[4], critics of government policy in Kashmir[5], critics of violence and intolerance[6, 7], people advocating for peace with Pakistan[8], opposition leaders[9, 10, 11], environmentalists[12, 13], workers demanding their rights[14], and critics of the RSS and the BJP[15, 16]. It has also been used against ordinary citizens, primarily Muslims, accused of cheering for Pakistan during or after sporting contests[17, 18]. In fact, perceived support for Pakistan figures prominently as a reason for sedition cases[19].

There are many cases of sedition for social media posts[20], including obviously humourous ones[21], and even for messages received on social media[22].

The low conviction rate for sedition cases indicates that the charge is primarily used as a tool for harassment of opponents of the government[23]

[This post is from deshkosh, a small online dictionary with entries on various themes related to Narendra Modi's India.]