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Real freedom is right to criticise govt: Kannan Gopinathan


Published on: December 10, 2019 | Updated on: December 10, 2019

Kannan Gopinathan

Mangaluru: Former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan on Tuesday said that the real freedom of expression is the right to criticise the government.

Participating in a seminar organised at SDM Law College here on the occasion of Human Rights Day, he said, "When you are made to think twice before saying anything against the authority, it is Article 19 that is getting violated. It is the right of any government to take a decision on Article 370 and other issues. But after that equally important right is the right for people to respond to that decision.

Right of people to react coexists with the right of the government to take a decision. In a democracy, people have the power and freedom to react to any government decision. It is human right to protect the fundamental rights of other fellow citizens."

Mr Gopinanthan, who resigned from service about three months ago raising voice against the Union government's stand on abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, said that criticising the government is patriotic, keeping in mind the good of the country. "You know there will be material losses for you. If you are able to take a stand even after that, then I don’t think there is anyone more patriotic than you are," he said.

"There is a notion among some that those who believe what is happening in the country is correct are nationals. But those who are speaking out on the wrong happening in the interest of the nation are also nationals. Anti-nationals are those who decide to keep silent for their own interest even after seeing something that is going wrong," he said. He questioned the need to be scared of the government to say what is right and what is wrong. "But unfortunately, self-censorship and fear is the biggest violation of all rights,"he declared.

"It is dangerous if we choose to remain silent and not say anything for the wrong that is happening for our own comfort. If I am worried about the nation I will not be worried of my comfort and position. For me, speaking for the nation is the first priority and I need to say that is truth," he said.