Actress-turned- politician Ramya is facing a private complaint in a court seeking action on sedition and other charges against her for "insulting" Indian patriots by her remark that "Pakistan is not hell".
As Ramya’s remarks triggered a bitter backlash on social media and BJP and ABVP workers staged protests terming her remarks "anti-national", the actress stood her ground in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
The complaint has sought a direction to police to book Ramya, an ex-Congress MP, under IPC sections 124(a) (sedition), 344 (wrongful confinement for ten or more days) and 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment).
Advocate K Vittala Gowda filed the complaint before Somwarpet Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) court, which on Monday admitted it and posted it for hearing on August 27.
In the complaint, Gowda accused the multi-lingual actress of "insulting" India and "provoking" people by appreciating Pakistan which is a "traditional enemy of India."
After a recent visit to Islamabad as part of a SAARC delegation of young lawmakers, Ramya had reportedly said at a meeting in Mandya, which she represented from 2013 to 2014 in Lok Sabha, "Pakistan is not hell. People there are just like us. They treated us very well."
Her remarks had come as an ostensible counter to comments of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who while lashing out at Islamabad for promoting terror, had said last week, "going to Pakistan is same as going to hell."
Reacting to the controversy, Ramya said "…this is the state of affairs in this country today. Sedition is being slapped against anyone and anybody who is entitled to an opinion which should not be the case."
She accused BJP of trying to curb freedom of expression.
"I think that as an individual I should be allowed to air or express my thoughts, views and opinions. I think BJP government is trying to curb that."
She said other parties could also misuse sedition law and file cases against BJP leaders because of the "bizarre" statements some of them were making which were "seditious" but they do not do it and instead engage them in discussions.
Ramya also said the BJP "right now" would not do anything to repeal the sedition law as it using it to its advantage.
The sedition issue has cropped up afresh amid a raging row over sedition charge filed against Amnesty International India by police, after anti-national and anti-Army slogans were allegedly raised at an event on Kashmir organised by it here recently.