Bengaluru: Stating that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) "will not do anything to repeal the law, because they are using it to their advantage", Congress leader Ramya on Tuesday refused to apologise for her statement that "Pakistan is a good country, not hell".
"The BJP is right now would not do anything to repeal the law, because they are using it to their advantage. I don't have any ego at all, and in any given situation I would have apologised, but in this particular incident "me apologising", the larger cause that we are fighting for would go. I think that I don't want to lose that opportunity," said Kannada actor-turned-politician.
A sedition case was filed against the former Member of Parliament from Karnataka's Mandya for her rebuttal to Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's comment that "going to Pakistan is like going to hell", had said, "Pakistan is a good country, not hell. People are just like us. They treated us very well. Manohar Parrikar's comment is not true."
When asked about the sedition charge, Ramya, also known as Divya Spandana, who had recently visited Pakistan to attend the SAARC summit for young parliamentarians, said, "I think it's really sad, but 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 shouldn't be the case actually. I am feeling really sorry for the people for misusing this law as well."
"As an individual, I should be allowed to express my thoughts, my feelings or my opinions and, I think, the BJP government is trying to curb that and that should not be the case," she added.
"If you look at other political parties that are there, if we have to file sedition cases, like "misuse of the sedition law", and file cases against the BJP, we could also do that, because the kind of bizarre statements their members have made, some of the things is seditious, but we are of kind to take them on in discussion and conversation and put forth our views, but we never stoop to that kind of politics," said the Congress leader refusing to buckle down under pressure or criticism.
"Not as a former Member of Parliament, but as a common man, everyone is entitled to their views. This is an opportunity for the people to speak of their mind, and not allowing people to speak of their mind will suppress the freedom of speech and, I think, if I apologise then I will be bowing down to pressure," she said.
On her return from Pakistan, the Congress leader had refuted Parrikar's remarks on that country, saying the people of Pakistan were very welcoming and went out of their way to make her stay comfortable on getting to know that she was from India.