Release vindicates Constitution’s libertarian promise: Ashwani Kumar

Former Law Minister says attempt to label dissenters as ‘anti-nationals’ must be fought

The Delhi High Court judgment ordering release of student activists Devengana Kalita, Natasha Narwal and Asif Tanha is a resounding vindication of the Constitution of India’s libertarian promise, former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar said on Thursday.

In a statement, Mr. Kumar said the subsequent steps by the government to delay their release “mock the conscience of the Constitution and the memory of our freedom fighters.”

“Protagonists of a muscular State seem to have forgotten the inescapable lesson of history that the cry for freedom is irrepressible. The State illserves its purpose by oppressing its constituents. Our fractured polity must unite, at least, in speaking out aloud in defence of liberty and dignity of citizens as a necessary obeisance to democracy,” he said.

He said the attempt to label dissenters as “anti-nationals” must be fought and it must be asked if “oppressive application of draconian laws” followed the philosophy of rule of law.

“Who will account for the loss of liberty, pain and the suffering endured by those incarcerated in the process of asserting their constitutional right of protest? And why should conscientious protesters in a democracy have to suffer the oppressive processes of a muscular State are troubling questions that need to be addressed,” he said.

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