Time for India to emerge with a new political leadership
The shocking midnight dance of brutal violence by Delhi Police at Ramlila Maidan on non-violent sleeping citizens, the blatant abuse of power by the Dr Manmohan Singh-led Central Government on elderly people, children and women, needs to be seen in terms of the deeper connotations of a disconnect between present-day politicians and the people, the citizens of the country.
No excuse and no explanation can ever allow such a wanton use of force against sleeping innocent citizens, by either the executive or any instrument of governance. The barbaric crushing of the protest led by Baba Ramdev by the Police cannot be justified by anyone in any democratic set up anywhere in the world. The right of peaceful protest by Indian citizens cannot be held ransom by the likes of the political establishment, and Indians cannot remain silent to such macabre methods used by politicians and their lame duck excuses to justify them.
The questions raised by Baba Ramdev are questions that affect each and every citizen of the country – a country virtually hallowed by corruption at all levels of every day living – that has virtually driven the common man to the wall. And now, now tired of the unceasing corruption, people found in him an anchor to vent their anger and despair.
The Congress and the holier-than-thou attitude-laden BJP, have abandoned the electorate that elects them far behind. When leaders like Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Jinnah-loving L.K. Advani and his party leave the people in the lurch on the basic issues that each Indian is facing, people have no choice but to abandon them. When political leaders fail to lead and instead mutually fix each other’s vested interests, and when political parties follow suit, the people have a right to decide whom to recognize and choose as their leader.
Cabinet Minister Kapil Sibal, drunk with power, termed the barbaric midnight atrocity of the government as correct. As advocate at least, he should know better. Justifying such an act, he said the Baba should teach people yoga asanas and not political asanas. Now does a student of law, an advocate, and a senior minister at that, not know that the constitution does not give political rights only to the likes of him, but to each and every Indian citizen?
What can be unconstitutional about a yoga shivir (camp) coupled with a satyagraha (protest) to eradicate corruption? What is unconstitutional about a sanyasi or yoga guru raising issues that the political class should have addressed years ago? What is unconstitutional about fighting against corruption which has seeped deep into the power echelons and veins of the system? What is unconstitutional about a peaceful fast?
This wanton act of violence and shocking human rights abuse led by the Commissioner of Delhi Police, B.K. Gupta, raises questions of accountability of the Police force itself and its officers. The Police have emerged as an instrument to fulfill the demands of the political establishment, rather than to protect common people. Gupta has often been quoted as saying that the Delhi police are there to serve the people, “we are here for the people); then why did they instead choose to serve the politicians?
The shivir at Ramlila Ground was peaceful, well managed, with neatly laid out registration centers, calm streamlined crowds from across the country, raising slogans of Bharat Mata ki Jai.
Contrast this with the secessionist crowd at LTG Auditorium in the national capital on 21 October 2010. The presence of terrorists and separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Arundhati Roy and other nation-haters, and the seditious speeches with cries to balkanize India were music to Delhi Police and its political masters. It did not stop here, as a demonstration to attack Parliament was also undertaken by the separatists and supporters.
Nationalists present there were roughed up, beaten and thrown out by not only the separatist supporters but also Delhi Police, even as venom against the country was poured by speaker after speaker. Police personnel present threw out people holding Indian flags and said they are there to protect the terrorists and separatists, as ordered by the Home Minister.
Protection to terrorists like Syed Ali Shah Geelani, killer Yasin Malik, and torture and teargas to thousands of nationalists at Ramlila Ground.
Home Minister P Chidambaram finds nothing wrong in giving protection to terrorists and permitting their seditious speeches. Cries of “Hum kya chate - aazadi,” found him extolling the constitutional right to freedom of speech in India, though the fact was that it had clearly been violated.
Do Indian nationalist citizens have no right to freedom of speech as guaranteed under Art 19 of the constitution of India, or does the Union Home Ministry interpret it as applicable only to separatists and secessionists?
Chidambaram’s interpretation of freedom of speech is not the interpretation as given in the constitution, and it is time that his arrogance was checked by the same constitution. By ordering the barbaric inhumane actions of Delhi Police which comes directly under him, he has violated the very citizens he sits to protect in the Home Minister’s Chair. If the terror threat being made out by the Government to Baba Ramdev and the people was real in any sense, why was the Union Home Minister not in Delhi? He cannot stay away and then evade responsibility on the pretext that he was not in town! This unwarranted terror leashed by the Government is out of place and cannot be justified in free India. Chidambaram in actions has emerged as a pathetic parody of Sardar Patel.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cannot abjure responsibility for this brazen brutality on thousands of people in the middle of night, reminiscent of the tyranny of the Mughal King Jehangir and the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev ji (fifth Sikh Guru) at his behest.
Guru Arjan Dev ji stood up for the right, refused to give up his principles and his faith. His martyrdom day fell, ironically, on 5 June, when thousands of citizen-devotees of Baba Ramdev were brutalized by a regime led by Dr Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi. Both now parallel the Mughal ruler in their deeds.
The Bharatiya Janta Party is no better; the dharma of an opposition party in a democracy has often been violated by them. The party ran off to Lucknow on the pretext of a National Executive. Could BJP not discuss its party strategy in Delhi? The 24 hour drama enacted at Rajghat later seemed like a school children’s picnic rather than an act of solidarity with the common people who were brutalized for trying to express their legitimate concerns to an increasingly deaf political class.
The police atrocities were there for all to see. Nor did it end there. Later, the police went about hunting for the satyagrahis in all places and terrorizing them. Refuge was found in Gurudwaras including Bangla Saheb, where people hurt and almost killed, driven away with force, with most losing whatever they had brought with them, ran for shelter. Little children and women were left on the roads with not even water in the scorching heat.
Certain sections of the media credited BJP ex-general secretary K.N. Govindacharya and his long time friend S. Gurumurthy as being the brains behind the movement; so why did both abandon the people when they were exposed to police violence and terror? Govindacharya was present at the venue on 4 June; where did he vanish after midnight when the violence was unleashed, and why did he never surface in the city thereafter? Why could not the gates of Vivekananda International Foundation – used to galvanise support for the so-called anti-corruption movement, not be opened for those exposed to the elements? Many questions have emerged and answers will have to be given to the common Indian citizen.
With this act of armed repression of peaceful citizens, the political establishment has declared that it stands on a foundation of corruption and malfeasance, and that any demand to free India of corruption and return black money stashed in the West - which rightly belongs to the Indian nation and people - will be crushed.
This is a stark revelation of how the political class considers itself as born to rule the country, a grim contrast to the constitutional proclamation: We the people of India - not - We the Politicians of India.
Indian polity has reached a stage where it needs to look inward and change its dynamics for it cannot run at a tangent to the nation. And the people of the country – if they want a future without the grime and sleaze of the present – will have to look beyond the current political elite and throw up an entirely new leadership that represents the aspirations of the rising new India.
[Editor’s note: Vijayvaani expresses gratitude towards the Honourable Supreme Court of India for taking suo moto notice of this macabre terror and repression unleashed on thousands of peaceful citizens, including children, women and senior citizens. Vijayvaani had on 6 June appealed to the Honourable Court to take notice of this unwarranted violation of the human rights, dignity and physical safety of sleeping citizens gathered for peaceful satyagraha against corruption and black money at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan by the Police at the instance of the Union Government]
The author is Convener, Daughters of Vitasta
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