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Shukla, R. (2017). Mother, Motherland and the Judicial Function: The Case of Kanhaiya Kumar. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 14(4):305-307.

(2017). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 14(4):305-307

International News

Mother, Motherland and the Judicial Function: The Case of Kanhaiya Kumar

Rakesh Shukla

1. Factual Matrix

Kanhaiya1 Kumar, the President of the Students Union of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, India was arrested on charges of sedition for participating in an event marking the third anniversary of the death of Afzal Guru who was awarded the death penalty and executed on 9 February 2013. Guru was convicted as a conspirator in the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. Like the past anniversaries of his death, this year's speakers at the function termed Guru's execution as a “judicial murder” and hailed him as a martyr. This time round the police arrested Kanhaiya Kumar in February under the serious charge of sedition. After being in jail for a little over two weeks the Delhi High Court released Kumar on interim bail.

2. Background

In India, invariably, all the laws in the arena of “terrorism”, “secession” and ”naxalism”2 severely curtailing civil liberties like the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) and Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA), Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) or the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) have been held to be constitutional and valid by courts. The leveling of the charge of sedition causes extreme prejudice making it difficult to be released from incarceration. Gandhiji in his trial for sedition by the British in 1922 referred to sedition as “the prince among the political sections of the IPC [Indian Penal Code] designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen”.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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