A protest in Delhi last year after the gang rape of a Dalit woman in Uttar Prade
Сообщение 06-04-2021, 12:52
But both data sets show upward trends.
The Article14 database found that five states - Bihar, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu - accounted for nearly two-thirds of all sedition cases in the last decade.
These are cases lodged by both the central and state governments.
Some are states affected by India's long-running internal conflict with Maoist guerrillas.
But the data also shows that the increase in recent years is linked to civilian protest movements, such as the current farmers' protests, as well as protests last year over changes to citizenship laws and over the gang rape of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh.
Why is sedition being used?
There have been legal rulings and observations made by the Indian courts questioning the use of sedition laws.
The Delhi court that granted bail to Disha Ravi said the sedition law cannot be invoked to "minister to wounded vanity of the government".
India's top court has also stated that charges of sedition cannot be made unless the accused incites people to violence against the government, or with the intention of creating public disorder.
Official data shows that the conviction rate for sedition has actually dropped, from 33% of cases in 2014 to 3% in 2019.
Senior lawyer Colin Gonsalves, who has challenged the validity of the sedition law, says it is being used as an intimidation tactic. pg
"The state is terrorising young people by using the law and putting them behind bars."
Mr Gonsalves says the process itself is the punishment, rather than a trial or a conviction.
Tom Vadakkan, national spokesperson of the ruling BJP, defends the use of the law.
"We are a country that believes in non-violence but if there are elements that provoke and create conditions that affect the image of this country, this law is still relevant," he says.
As for the low conviction rate, he says: "In many of these cases, there's not enough evidence. Sometimes it's difficult to get to the bottom of it."