Indian Actress Could Face Sedition Charges for Saying That Pakistan Is ‘Not Hell’
An Indian actor is refusing to apologize after she complimented Pakistan.
Here are a few fun facts about Pakistan: It’s a country in South Asia, it is home to more than 180 million people, and although parts of it do reach excruciatingly hot temperatures, it is, inarguably, not the same place as Hell — the inferno where some believe sinners are destined to spend their afterlives burning for eternity.
Ask Indian Defense Manohar Parrikar about that last part and he may disagree. Earlier this month he said that “going to Pakistan is same as going to hell.”
And now that Indian actor and former lawmaker Divya “Ramya” Spandana came out in defense of Pakistan, claiming that it is “not Hell,” she’s facing sedition charges, filed against her by a lawyer in Karnataka, in India’s southwest.
Ramya complimented the hospitality of Pakistanis after returning from a visit there, during which she said she was welcomed wholeheartedly and found Pakistanis and Indians to be very much the same. (The two countries split during the 1947 partition of what was then British India; the move sparked religiously-motivated violence and uprooting that left more than a million dead and prompted the mass migration of 10 million people between the two countries.)
“With a complaint of sedition filed against me, I stand by my remarks that Pakistan is not hell and I see no reason to withdraw or apologize for it,” she wrote in a blog post for Indian Express. “It’s ironical that in a country where people get away with crimes such as a murder, those that seek peace are targeted.”
Members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party called her complimentary tone toward Pakistan “anti-nationalist,” and held protests against her this week. K. Vittal Gowda, the lawyer who filed the sedition case, said she should be charged because she publicly “appreciated” a traditional Indian enemy.
On Saturday, a court will decide whether he can go forward with the charges, which carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Photo credit: Visual News/Getty Images