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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 15 New Delhi March 28, 2020

Mother of all impunity from terrorism charges

Saturday 28 March 2020

by Mustafa Khan

Impunity in Indian context differs from region to region and from group to group. When witches were hunted tried and condemned to be burnt at the stake there was no avoidance in the western countries. In New England the people believed that the devil lived just off the clearing in the forest. In Delhi they are burning Bharatvasi who are passed off as Indians without a religious tag! And now when the deadly coronavirus is raging this Friday the PM Modi is still fiddling with having his own government in MP. That way he missed what P Chidambrum counseled him on March 19 and added on March 20: “I have offered our support to the PM’s announcements yesterday, but I am absolutely certain that the PM will have no option but to come back with tougher social and economic measures. After reviewing overnight developements in India and the world, I am convinced that a temporary lockdown of towns and cities for two to four weeks is necessary”.

On Friday he said again “Yesterday, I got the impression that the PM was testing the waters. He should act boldly. The war against coronavirus cannot be fought with moral armaments. ICMR says that the disease is still at Stage 2 in India. This is the moment to act. Let us not allow this moment to pass without decisive action and regret later.”

Two days later the PM is very tentative in his approach. There is no confidence building measures in mouthing homelies. Singing hosannas during the visit of a president of a powerful country or confabulating in dialect howdy’Modi puts you in the line of fools in the gallery of John Oliver. There is difference between sincere advice and passing the buck to a subordinate official sitting in the audience and feeling the matter would evaporate automatically in a White House briefing.

Having brute majority in the Parliament and carrying out his ideology bias as in abrogation of Artcle 370 in Kashmir and earlier having SC rule in favour of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya and then taking the former CJ of SC Ranjan Gogoi into the Rajya Sabha, and having the greatest money embezzlement after demonetization in Yes-Bank the Nero is fiddling away his time drunk on the majoritarain politics which has absolute disregard and disgust for all the minorities of all hue and belief.

We have to save the universe asserted a supporter Dr Malvinder Singh Malih. They are taking calls from those who are handpicked by Modi. Gogoi took the Parliament seat like that and thus forth further. What it amounts to your being prepared for the pandemic seizing your never system is like the Octopus. Judicial order without his signature on issue of molesting a woman by his Lordship (now a member of the elite house of the Parliament) and hanging Nirbhay rape and murder accused are two sides of the same coin. Where is the time for moral discrimination to a man who had handed over the 59 burnt out karsevaks to Jaideep Patel of VHP whose letter was headlined: “What Gujarat does. India will have to do tomorrow.”(1) And that is exactly what India is doing for years now under Modi with full impunity.

Full 24 hours after he appeared on television the people of this republic look like the Yahoos, the people there are kept on leash by the horses who rule them. Surely signs are they are now gearing up to clap hands in the circus ring, beat the utenlis with sticks in simulation of drum and ring bells while occupying the stool space like animals of circus. They are yahoos pronounced /ja:hu:/ while crony capitalists and bankrs/ju:hu:z/another breed of horses of crony capitalism ushered in Modi.

Indian politics has been so thoroughly communalized by RSS, BJP and leaders like Modi and Jaitley that there is no dawning of knowledge of truth even regarding epidemics/pandemics. Once upon time the Nizam had built a tall mosque at the cross road of Hyderabad to keep watch on his subjects during the plague. His soldiers among them Muslims used it as observation tower on duty and perform their regular prayers as well. There was practically no change until late 1969 when the communalists planted the images of Hindu deity there. I recall how I as a student was petrified by the encroachment and the deployment of the army there when I happened to pass the monument. But I was relieved when fellow passengers used patent expletives like mother’s male sex insignia. It was disturbing moment because it meant to us from outside that it was onset of a communal riot. But the conductor restored our confidence that these were not flash points of an imminent riot but the paradoxical use of the sex insignia in the vernacular. If a ruler can do this much more is expected today because of Covid-19. Sad is the taciturnity of PM Modi and even more puzzling his silence on the layout of funds. This is in glaring contrast of PM of Canada Justin Trudeau who has sanctioned 3 % of the government budget on testing, treating and tracing the cases of Crona virus. And that amounts to 82 billion dollars.

It is quizzical that Daniel Defore wrote when London was victim of such a visitation in 1664-5 that the independent minded English robust character also underwent changes owing to the visitation. There was spurt in quackery and roguery then. Is not clapping hands for five minutes, beating your steel eating plates and ringing you vehicle horns or bells will drive away the virus ?Even more amazing that there are elected leaders in parliament and assemblies who are potentially influencing their electorate into drinking cow urine and cow dung! And of all what of that London archetype, the quick-witted, fast talking con-man is represented by a ’quacking sort of fellow’ who advertises himself as a self-styled expert, diagnosing plague symptoms with the slogan ’he gives his advice to the poor for nothing’.

However, the circumabiency in which coronavirus has manifested is a matter of grave concern. The right wing government and its party though in power continued their juggernaut of turning India into a Hindu nation. And slowly every other work is oriented towards this end. The attempt to communalize the polls in Delhi and then the visit of Trump came handy. The ambition is virtually diabolic to say the least. It is in this context Julio Reibero observes: “Ambition can also be a virus! And runaway ambition worse than the corona!

“Value systems have changed dramatically over the decades post Independence. I have noticed, for instance, that today many IPS entrants are willing to sacrifice their dignity and honour to please political masters at the cost of their fealty to the law and the Constitution and even their own principles! If their own advancement in careers depends on sycophancy, they will go the whole hog at the cost of their own countrymen, who they conveniently forget at such times.

“The present dispensation has gone about systematically eroding our institutions like the police, the bureaucracy and the media. It has succeeded in depriving the Election Commission of the high pedestal on which TN Seshan had placed it. The Army and the judiciary are two institutions left on which hapless citizens rely in times of stress. Alas, they are being relentlessly besieged.”

Thus the mother of all impunity in the present scenario is: “The difference between the present government and the old ‘natural party of governance’ is that the Congress was wary of being found out, whereas the BJP is ready with all guns blazing to defend the indefensible. The BJP has, in fact, perfected to a fine art the practice of justifying all its acts of omission and commission.” And this hides all the terror since 2002 Gujarat to 2020 Delhi and more… had time to prepare. We should have taken this threat much more seriously and have been much better prepared.” (2) We were overwhelmed by the Nero fiddling with capturing more state governments and where they met roadblock they took revenge by camouflaging Trump visit to conduct another pogrom.

Where has the BJP government under Modi spent its time and energy? Of course it is for the grand aim of having a Hindu nation in 2024. For this they have practiced revanchism all through their years in power. After they assumed power in MP their CM Chauhan took revenge on the collector who had slapped a BJP leader. Rajgarh Collector Nidhi Nivedita did slap protester when he misbehaved with her and her senior officer and also a collector on January 20 2020 when there was the government of Congress. There was a prohibitory order against gathering of people and protest was banned. On the first day of assuming power the new government took revenge first by transferring her.

There is a new breed of politics that BJP is playing with the backing of RSS. Its president Mr Chadda is organizing food for five crore people in Delhi in the aftermath of the pogroms. That is likely to feed and support the Hindus who are caught up in the meltdown from the communal flare up to the pandemic. This is on the pattern of the Kutch earthquake that moved to the pogroms of 2002 ultimately. Yusuf Lulu had donated huge sums of money that the RSS handled and deprived the Muslim victims. As the government of CM Modi had come down upon the Muslims returning from a convention in London on January 1, 2002. All India Muslim Unity Front (AIMUF) comprising of umbrella representation of dominant groups of Muslims vowed at the monument dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi in Delhi to root out terrorism. They clearly underlined that they were against cross border terrorism and wanted India to be firm in handling this menace. They “demanded stern action against those who were aiding and abetting terrorism in India.” Their avowal was fervently patriotic. They must have apprehended that since India had chosen to jump on the bandwagon of President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair in the war on terrorism that you are either with us or against us; that troubles were ahead for their community. Choosing to determine who was a terrorist, was not left to the victims but the victor. As if the Intelligence Bureau in Delhi and the Gujarat government did not want to eye the resurgence of patriotic warmth of the Muslims in any other way than cynically making a preemptive strike by arresting as many as 123 Muslims returning from a seminar in London. The cops called them members of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). This collaboration of the two, IB and Gujarat government has proved most pernicious to the country as well as for Gujarat. However The Times of India on December 30, 2001 quoted a top police official that the police had found no perceptible link yet of the organization with the recent attack on parliament. What is significant to note is that as many as 123 Indians had gone to London where it would be impossible to hold a meeting of radicals that too in the aftermath of 9/11 or December 13, 2001 attack on the parliament in Delhi, as far as India is concerned. Among the arrested were 44 from Maharashtra, followed by Gujarat 25, Madhya pradesh 13, Karnataka 11, UP 10, Rajasthan 9, West Bengal 4, Tamil Nadu 4, Bihar 2, Chhattisgarh 1. The central government had banned SIMI on the heels of 9/11 despite the fact that no Indian was involved in 9/11 attack on the US, a fact that even President George Bush averred. This confirms the suspicion that the government headed by the Prime Minister Vajpayee and deputy PM LK Advani from Hindutva group used the anti-Muslim world view to piggy ride the US in victimizing the Muslims.

As the role of Rajendra Kumar, joint director of IB and Narendra Modi, his fellow Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh member and pal, would reveal later in the course of the decade more of their sinister design against the minority. Kumar was the one who fed wrong information to Modi that Inter Services Intelligence and Lashkar-e-Toiba were behind Godhra fire incident. He was the one again who fed false information to Commissioner of Police Ahmadabad KR Kaushik on Ishrat Jahan and hence complicit in genocide and fake encounters. But before the month was over the police struck again and arrested 8 suspected members of SIMI from Olpad area in Vadodra where SIMI documents were recovered from a canal (nullah) on January 29, 2002. What had the eight to do with it? Obviously like other such innumerable cases their names were found in the documents. This is similar to the fake encounters which mark years in succession when the police would kill Muslims and plant explosives and ID cards on them. They would say that they were out to kill Modi.

Years later a judge would ask the government of India to give just one real proof to continue the ban on SIMI and when the government lawyer would fail the judge would recommend to the central government to lift the ban. The next day the government would re-impose the ban. That fluidity in situation has not changed. How could it when people like Chadda who headed the armed wing of Hindutva ABVP is now the head of the BJP!

When we have a hollowman at the realm of powers what do we expect than clapping, beating utensils and ringing bells to drive away the virus a couple of days earlier and now nursery rhymes of children

Ko koi
Ro roadpar
Na nikley
Such puzzling rhymes have no reason other than the following
By the itch of this my thumb
Something wicked this way come
A drum! a drum! Macbeth did come!

(1) Kingshuk Nag. The Namo Story. Roli Book 2013 P.175


The author Mustafa Khan is based in Malegaon, Maharashtra and blogs at:

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