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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 12, New Delhi, March 7, 2020

Tackling the Multi-dimensional Crisis

Monday 9 March 2020, by SC

EDITORIAL

As we go to press, news has come of a major crisis having hit another bank, the Yes Bank. The RBI Governor has disclosed that those having accounts in the bank would be able to withdraw a maximum of Rs 50,000 at present. He has also assured the public that prompt steps were being taken to tackle the crisis which would be overcome within thirty days. However, after the experience with the PMC Bank these promises carry virtually no weight whatsoever. In the midst of this development the BJP leaders in charge of the Ministry, including the Minister herself, have blamed the previous Congress Government for the mess in the banking sector; to this charge former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has correctly underlined the need for vigil by the present government and in the circumstances held that it was pointless to attack the erstwhile government for whatever the Yes Bank was facing today. He has further asked: what were the regulators doing and what was their concrete role in this regard? These queries are of vital importance at the present juncture.

Meanwhile, the communal violence that rocked northeast Delhi in particular in the last few days continues to simmer even if the scale of violence has declined at the moment. But the fact that as many as 53 persons (according to the latest estimates) lost their lives in the riots cannot be ignored in any way. After so many days it is only today that the Delhi Police, which had come in for considerable flak for its incompetence and ineffectiveness at the time of the fratricidal assaults, has been finally able to identify those who stoked the flames of fire and urged the public to help the police in this respect.

However, the situation on this score has become complicated due to several factors. As The Indian Express notes,

The Narendra Modi Government continues to resist and stonewall the Opposition’s demand to take up the issue of the Delhi riots in Parliament... Let’s talk after Holi, it says. This deferment should not be surprising, perhaps, given that the violence, and its costly toll, also point to the government’s own abdication, especially that of Delhi Police. But it is still chilling. That Parliament should be paralysed by a stand-off in this precarious moment, that attempts should be made to steer it towards business as usual, that a blind eye and a deaf ear should be turned, even if for now, to the destruction of life and property in the national Capital... is a continuing scandal.

At the same time, what is of utmost significance is that the BJP leaders responsible for hate speeches that led to the communal violence remain unapprehended and are freely moving about everywhere including Parliament, whereas a responsible former civil servant and currently human rights activist Harsh Mander is placed in the dock instead of being allowed to register FIRs against those who made hate speeches. That is why a major publications in the Capital has legitimately observed:

There are many guilty men of Delhi. Putting an activist with a formidable record of civic action in the dock in this moment seems to be a waste of the court’s precious time, and a travesty.

Indeed, this is an observation few can dispute.

The ruling dispensation’s latest action against Opposition MPs in the Lok Sabha cannot also be taken lightly as it is an attempt to trigger confrontation in the Lower House. This must be firmly resisted by all forces wedded to the democratic functioning of every institution in the country.

March 6 S.C.

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