Trivandrum: The case of alleged disrespect towards the National anthem against Salman is based on trumped up charges and would not stand legal scrutiny, B.R.P.Bhaskar, Chairperson of the Salman Justice Forum, has said in a press conference here. on Thursday In the press conference, P.P. Sathyan and Saju Kochery participated.
Press Statement (Full):
Salman arrested under false charges:
Trivandrum: Salman , the human rights activists who has been arrested for allegedly insulting the national anthem has actually been framed under false charges. The case against Salman is fabricated. In its instructions about the same, the central government has already clarified that it is not right to broadcast the national song in public spaces like a theatre and that if it is done, then there is no need to stand for it. Even in the 1971 Disrespect to National Honor Act it is said that it is not a criminal offence if you do not stand while the national song is being played.
In 2002 during the Independence Day celebration some people had refused to stand while the national anthem was played. Even in the arguments with which the court dismissed the case against Laloo Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi regarding the issue, the court had made this clear.
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It is in such a circumstance that Salman is being charged for not standing up while the national anthem is being sung. It is only an allegation that Salman hooted while the national anthem was played. Moreover, many who were in the theater for the same show, had not stood up while it was played. It was after the song was over that the people who complained against Salman came to pick up a fight with him. Their arguments continued even during the interval time. It is based on this that it has been alleged that Salman hooted while the national anthem was played.
Another allegation the police is bringing up against him is that he put up a status message insulting the national anthem on this August 15th . However, Salman is not talking about the national anthem in that post. Instead he is actually doing a parody of the Malayalam song, “Bharathamenaal Parin naduvil Kevalamoru Pidi Mannalla” (Bharatham is not just a scoop of dust on this earth). This song is from the film “Aadhya Kiranangal’ directed by P. Bhaskaran (First Rays) and it was written by P. Bhaskaran with Music by K Raghavan and sung by Susheel and group. Salman had only created a parody of this song and that too he had done it to foreground the deteriorating living conditions in India. How can we view this as treason?
While Salman was producedbefore the Medias by Kerala Police, he was hand cuffed.
In a post following the above discussed post, Salman makes his perspective very clear. Here he argues that it is not just India, but all nations and their hegemonies that are born through violence and lies. Such a political parody , which is also accompanied by a good explanation, should be viewed as a critique. Instead it is being seen as an insult to the national anthem and Salman is being branded a traitor. Surely this is being done with utmost malafide intentions. Surely one does have a reasonable ground here to doubt that it is the Muslimness of his name, Salman that makes him get branded as a traitor to the country.
For quite some time, various political parties have been putting forward the argument that India’s minority nationalities, dalits, adivasis and minority communities are not actually free. It is almost a cliché today to say that India’s freedom can only been as a privilege of Savarna communities, as long as these communities are not free. Salman’s parody is only an expression of such an argument.
The people who are criticizing Salman on Facebook are using much worse words than this. They are even threatening to rape the women who support him. Is it good for a country that claims to be a free democracy to slap Salman with sedition for such an innocent political criticism? Kerala, which claims to be such a politically enlightened state cannot even tolerate a young man’s critique?
Actually it is the theater which insulted the national anthem. It should be questioned whether it is appropriate to play the national anthem, without any reason, in public places where people from different spheres come together. In fact, it is illegal to do so. In the Bijoe Emmanuel And Others Vs State of Kerala and Others case, the Supreme Court had ruled that children from Yahowa’s Witness community need not be forced to sing the national anthem as it goes against their religious beliefs.
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Salman participated in a protest against Koodamkulam Nuclear Project. The protest is organised by the “Ocha” cultural collective that formed under the initiative Salman himself.
In fact, the Indian Constitution itself grants the fundamental right to safeguard a person’s religious beliefs. So to play the national anthem in a public space where many such people will be is a way of breaking the plurality of this country and challenging the religious freedom enshrined in our constitution.
Moreover, in Panipat, when Multiplexes started playing the national anthem, district officials had ordered that this be stopped. The then deputy commissioner had made it clear that “playing the national anthem goes against the rules that are laid down for how the national anthem ought to be played.” Moreover, the songs now being played in Kerala theatres do not even come under the definition of national anthem. It is nothing but an artistic creation. Because the national anthem backed by orchastra should be used only in the ceremonial functions in which the President of India is present as per law.
What is being played is a picturization of the song with Musical Instruments. It is also accompanied by visuals downloaded from YouTube. Law itself tells us that we cannot call this a national anthem. Yet, the fact that Salman was hunted like a “terrorist” is a gross violation of his human rights.
When Salman was taken into custody from his home, neither he nor his parents protested; they only felt very bad. Yet he was handcuffed and displayed before the media by the police. In a country where there are strict rules, even for the application of handcuffs on an accused, it is shocking that we are being totally apathetic to that fact that Salman has been handcuffed in violation of all his human rights.
Salman in a Protest against the IFFK authorities to implement reservation for the seat.
On the night of his arrest, Salman was taken from station to station and even his parents were not allowed to meet or talk to him. Even the basic norms to be followed while arresting a person have not been followed in Salman’s case. Moreover, he has also been inhumanely charged under IT Act 66A, IPC 124 A. Salman who is a student of philosophy is also someone who takes part in all the various people’s protests and resistances in Kerala.
He is also someone who has taken a strong stand against human rights violations. We can see his active presence in the protest against Capital punishment and many other such issues. His stand on various protests happening in Trivandrum is very significant and he is a figure who is well known to all political and cultural activists. Not only so, to this day, there has not even been a petty case against him. The political debates that a political and philosophy student conducts actually enrich our political discussions.
The attempt by the police is to nip such valuable thoughts in the bud itself. This is just an attempt to impose a police state in India. The police is continuously hunting Salman and his friends. The police is trying to intimidate by harassing and threatening Salman’s friends (and those who stand with him) and by trying to trap them under false charges. Only by relentlessly protesting against such fascist, undemocratic attitudes can we retain our democratic rights. Release Salman unconditionally. It is the primary duty of anyone who believes in democracy that he gets justice.