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To write or to riot?

Sajan Venniyoor wrote in an email discussion list yesterday,

Times of India (21 Nov) lists the charges levelled by Palghar police against those who vandalized Dr. Dhada’s hospital:

IPC 143: Unlawful assembly – imprisonment up to six months, or fine, or both.
IPC 147: Rioting – imprisonment up to two years, or fine, or both.
IPC 336: Act endangering life or personal safety of others – imprisonment up to three months, or with fine up to Rs 250, or both.
IPC 427: Mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50 – imprisonment up to two years, or fine, or both.
IPC 451: House-trespass to commit any offence punishable with imprisonment – imprisonment for 2 years and fine.

66A of the IT Act (“causing annoyance”) could get us jailed up to three years with fine. Couldn’t we just assemble unlawfully, riot, break into people’s homes and endanger the life and personal safety of others? It seems so much safer.

I think it is a very important comparison on the quantum of punishment. It also reveals the fear of the people in power – what they fear the most. And it won’t be a surprise if most people would agree to it – we are an intolerant country and we are more worried about how other people say and live than our own situation. And this trend is only increasing. We need more efforts to fight intolerance and also teach people to value freedom over getting offended on their believes.

Another important thing for the netizens to do is reach out to the people who are not on the internet and teach them the virtues of it, tell them that they now have a voice that can reach anyone on the world with a fraction of the cost of any traditional media out there.

Some ideas: Help more people write blogs, teach them about tools of anonymity like tor, understand their fears – I think most of it is the fear of technology itself. We have to make posters, cartoons, videos and use any opportunity to debunk the myths of internet if we want to make a broad movement to protect the internet.

And here is the update about PIL in Madras High Court challenging 66A

Mr. Justice Basha told the petitioner’s counsel A. Rajini “You must remember that even you would not be able to invoke the provision in case you are genuinely aggrieved against some communication made by another individual,” the judge said before ordering notices.

I think this is the common response from anyone who is not using the internet already to speak up. How can we protect ourselves? This is a much tougher struggle to win, something we need a cultural campaign for.

There are many ways your can join the campaign today and make a difference.

One idea we are currently working on in the campaign is a survey on the Internet – how people use internet, how they perceive it, what are their fears etc

Share your thoughts and ideas here or on the campaign page.

2 Responses to “To write or to riot?”


  1. 1 TheNakedKaali

    […] Another important thing for the netizens to do is reach out to the people who are not on the internet and teach them […]

    Praveen, aren’t you assuming the ones who are on internet know the virtue of voicing their opinions ? The thousands who have smartphones and those who have access consider social media to be a forum to exchange pleasantaries. Most do not want their “peace” to be disturbed. Most are not ready to even think change is ‘needed’ (leave alone ‘must’).

    It is important to include this huge population too. These are the ones who need to be targeted the most. They are mostly cushioned today (and never want to risk saying or dealing with anything controversial). And therefore will have to be the major contributors for the campaigns!

    What do you think ?

  2. 2 Praveen A

    TheNakedKaali,

    What I meant was, we are never reaching the people outside internet in our online campaigns and the picture the mainstream media gives internet is that of a dangerous place.

    But I agree with your idea. I stressed on the other part, because it is tougher (but now when I think about it, even this is tougher). We need to get out of the net on to the streets and campuses and engage with them, whether they already use the internet or not. Because they won’t hear us otherwise.

    But how do we do it? Any ideas?

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