December 07, 2014

Gruesome Portends Of BJP’s Offensive Statements

IT is, indeed, a tragic irony – a gruesome portend of things to come – that highly offensive statements aimed at sharpening communal polarisation have come with alarming rapidity from members of the union council of ministers in the week preceding the 22nd anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid. As we go to the press, the impasse in the Rajya Sabha over such highly offensive statements made by a minister of state of this Modi government continues. The entire opposition in the upper house of parliament, highly dissatisfied, rightly so, with the “expression of regret” by the concerned minister is demanding that either the minister be sacked or resign for making such inflammatory statements at a public meeting related with the upcoming elections to the Delhi assembly. This is because of minister’s statements are a cognizable and a non-compoundable offence under Section 153 (A) of the Indian Penal Code. The judiciary, including the apex court in a judgement of a constitutional bench headed by the chief justice, had ruled that an apology cannot condone an offence of such nature and criminal proceedings must follow leading to punitive action. The admission of guilt by the minister (having accepted and expressed regret for such comments) is tantamount to simultaneously having violated secularism, a fundamental feature of our constitution. The minister holds this position under an oath of affirmation and secrecy under this very constitution. Thus, it is simply untenable for the concerned minister to continue holding office. Hence, the impasse. How this will be resolved is up to this Modi government. Both in the parliament and outside, the BJP far from expressing any remorse or giving an assurance of reining in such members of its cabinet continues to maintain an aggressive posture of defiance. Clearly, they are pursuing the real RSS agenda of sharpening communal polarisation in order to metamorphose the modern secular democratic Indian Republic into their version of a rabidly intolerant `Hindu Rashtra’. Sample some of the statements of this Modi government’s ministers and MPs. The minister under discussion in parliament, MoS Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti at a rally in Delhi on December 1, 2014 said: “People of Delhi have to decide if they want a government of Ramzaadon (followers of Ram) or unprintable (a government of those who are illegitimate)”. Later, in sheer defiance, she says: “I was referring to the anti-nationals (read Muslims), those who compromise with its borders, its integrity. What else do you call people who loot the nation…? What should we call them? Why is it being objected to?” These statements are not in isolation. Recollect that in these columns we had referred to the highly inflammatory statements made by various leaders of the RSS, including its sarsanghchalak, since this Modi government assumed office. Another minister of state, who is infamous for his comments during the election campaign that those who oppose Modi should go to Pakistan, Giriraj Singh on December 1, 2014 said: “Do you know Hanuman? We are all Hanuman. Hanuman told Ram he has no identity of his own. Hum Modi ke bhakt hai poore desh mein” (All Indians are worshippers of Modi). Here is what some of the BJP MPs say: “There is no place for other communities at places where population of the minority community is more than 40%. These are areas where riots occur.” (Yogi Adityanath) “The truth is that madrasas are involved in anti-national activities. They are educating youths to become terrorists and jehadis…The government must look into it.” (Sakshi Maharaj) (All these quotations are from Mail Today, December 3, 2014) Hindu Mahasabha general secretary Naveen Tyagi demanded that all item girls should be declared "prostitutes". Hindu Mahasabha earlier had issued a diktat in Haryana saying that girls should be banned from wearing jeans and using mobile phones in schools and colleges. Such moral policing is alarmingly rising in various parts of the country particularly in BJP ruled states and Karnataka. In Haryana, senior Khap panchayat members supported such diktats and said: "if women dress up skimpily, men will be attracted and mistakes may happen. It is better to look into the way you dress up. Rapes will not decrease if you wear such clothes. So, wear decent clothes." ( In response to a question in the Lok Sabha relating to the fact that while Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis are 38.8 per cent of our country’s population, 53 per cent from these sections are today undertrials in our country’s jails, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, furnishing a written reply, said that in states where Muslim population was high, the number of undertrials were also high. This was reported by the Hindustan Times (December 3, 2014) under a heading `Controversial: Minister hints at link between crime and religion’. All this clearly shows, notwithstanding the rhetoric of `development’ and `achhe din aanewale hain’, the real agenda being pursued by this Modi government is that of carrying forward the RSS vision which is bound to dangerously lead to the dismembering of our country’s syncretic social fabric. Such diabolic forked tongue politics, as argued repeatedly in these columns earlier – one for the gullible sections of the public and the other real agenda of undermining the unity and integrity of our country’s diverse socio-cultural mosaic. On every 6th of December, since 1992, the country hangs its head in shame recollecting the vandalism and destruction of the Babri Masjid. Amongst all others, this memory highlights the disastrous consequences of having a rabidly communal outfit assume the reins of State power. It is inconceivable that the Babri Masjid could have been destroyed the way it was without a BJP government in Uttar Pradesh then. The complicity and the patronage provided by the government not only allowed but aided the gravest assault on India's secular democratic foundations. Today, when the BJP holds the reins of the central government, with a majority of its own, albeit a mere 31 per cent share of the polled vote in the 2014 general election, such dangers become enlarged manifold. In the supreme interests of `India that is Bharat’ such a diabolic agenda needs to be foiled. Any remembrance of 6th December will have a meaning only if the resolve to checkmate and defeat these forces is strengthened. Ancient wisdom that has filtered down the centuries tells us that "for the evil to succeed, the good only has to be silent". This 22nd anniversary is the appropriate occasion for all Indian patriots to redouble their resolve to break such silence and doubly ensure that the secular democratic foundations of the Indian Republic will be safeguarded. This is an essential prerequisite on whose foundation the Indian people’s struggle for the creation of a better India for all our people can succeed. (December 3, 2014)