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Goa minister slams Kanhaiya's brand of 'freedom of speech'

135 Days ago

Panaji, March 12 (IANS) It won't be tolerated that a person like Kanhaiya Kumar can say anything "just because we have freedom of speech", Goa Environment and Forest Minister Rajendra Arlekar has said.

"Those who think that just because we have freedom of speech and a person like Kanhaiya can say anything... that will not be tolerated," Arlekar told a select group of youngsters at a function organised in Panaji by the Nehru Yuva Kendra on Friday.

"All these thoughts come from samyavaad (communism). It is important to read Babasaheb Ambedkar's thoughts about it. It is time to introspect and see where communism is leading us... Is communism taking us down the right path," the minister said.

Kumar, who heads the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU), was arrested on February 12, on charges of sedition.

The saga of his arrest and his subsequent release on bail has sparked a debate on the sedition law and freedom of speech.

"What does this type of freedom of speech mean? Does it mean you can say anything? After the function is over, I will walk over to the road and abuse everyone. Is this my freedom of speech. Are the rights of other people not protected? Freedom of speech is in relation to the rights of other people," he said.

The minister also lamented the fact that a section of the Indian youth did not put the nation ahead of other priorities and were crooning songs of 'Azadi'.

"What are the songs of our youth today? Azadi? If this is the kind of Azadi one speaks of, then this country may not last. There will not be a nation. What we owe to this country and soil and nation is a very big aspect... Songs and thoughts of today's youth have to be nation first, everything else is secondary," Arlekar said.

"When you speak in the context of this country, you cannot demand Azadi, using the excuse of freedom of speech. What is this Azadi? From what you do want Azadi? Azadi from Hindustan?" he asked. (IANS)

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