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नव-देशभक्तों के नाम एक जेएनयू वाले का खुला ख़त

जेएनयू की एक बहुत पुरानी शाम से उतने भी प्यारे नहीं देशभक्तों, भारत माता के वीरों (मुँह खुलते ही स्त्रियों को गालियाँ देने वालों को सप...

September 28, 2016

उड़ी का बदला लेने वाले पठानकोट पे सो रहे थे क्या?

हम कभी फौज से कोई ख़ास प्यार नहीं कर पाए. लड़ाकू पायलट बनने के सपने, और उसे लगभग पूरा कर लेने के बाद भी, जी एनडीए में फाइनल सेलेक्शन लिया था-पिता ने इनडेम्निटी बांड ही न भरा तो रह गए! हमें हमेशा फौजी भी समाज का वैसा ही एक जरुरी हिस्सा लगे जैसे और सारे- जैसे शिक्षक जिनसे परिवार भरा हुआ है और जो न हों तो फौजी फौजी बन ही न पायें, या सफाईकर्मी- जो न हों तो दुश्मन की जरुरत न पड़े, हैजे से शहर के शहर ख़त्म हो जाएँ. बाकी मामलों में भी वैसे ही- कुछ अच्छे, कुछ बहुत बुरे, बाकी सामान्य. ऐसे भी फौजी जो चलती ट्रेन में डाकुओं से महिलाओं को बचाने के लिए अकेले 35-40 से जूझ जाएँ तो ऐसे भी जो न्यायिक आयोग के मुताबिक निर्दोष लड़की मनोरमा की हत्या कर दें, बलात्कार की पुष्टि भले न हो. ऐसे भी जो पाकिस्तानी शेलिंग के बीच डोडा में काश्मीरी बच्ची को बचाने गोलीबारी के बीच घुस जाएँ, ऐसे भी जो प्रमोशन और मैडल के लिए निर्दोष मजदूरों को फर्जी मुठभेड़ में मार दें- बाद में अगर पकड़े जाएँ जैसे केचप कर्नल पकड़ा गया तो सेना अदालत की दी हुई उम्रकैद काटें नहीं तो सच में प्रमोशन पायें. 

बाकी हम तो युद्धविरोधी घोषित देश'द्रोही' ठहरे! 


हाँ, कुछ और लोग तो थे जिनके देशभक्ति के दावे थे, और जिन्होंने उस भक्ति को सेना के लिए बिना शर्त बिना सवाल प्यार और सम्मान में समेट दिया था. वे अब कहाँ हैं? जैसे एक सुषमा स्वराज थीं. विपक्ष में एक शहीद के बदले दस सिर माँगती थीं, अभी विदेश मंत्री हैं, लाईं? एक राजनाथ सिंह थे. ख़ुद सीमा पर जाने को तैयार रहते थे- गृहमंत्री हैं- गए? कहते रहते हैं कि पहला हमला न करेंगे पर पाकिस्तान ने किया तो गोलियाँ न गिनेंगे. न गिनीं? गुरदासपुर, पठानकोट, कुलगाम, पैम्पोर, पुलवामा और अब उड़ी  के बाद? एक मोदी तो थे ही- मौखिक बमबाज! मुँह से बमबारी करते थे, पाकिस्तान घुस जाते थे। अभी प्रधानमंत्री हैं- गुरदासपुर, पठानकोट, कुलगाम, पुलवामा, उड़ी- सब हो गया- घुसे? अलबत्ता पाकिस्तानी  प्रधानमंत्री  नवाज़ शरीफ के सालगिरह के जश्न में बिना बुलाये जरुर घुस गए थे! खूब गले मिले थे, मिठाई खाए थे! 


तमाम देशभक्त इनसे कुछ नहीं पूछ रहे- अब कहाँ गयी सारी देशभक्ति, सारा सेना प्रेम. (हिम्मत भी न हो शायद). न ये कि हमला वमला तो छोड़िये, इन्हें भी पता था कि अभी की वैश्विक स्थिति में संभव ही नहीं है, पर इन सेनाप्रेमी देशभक्तों की अपनी सरकार के 2 साल, गुरदासपुर के साल भर और पठानकोट के 8 महीने बाद भी पाकिस्तान भारत का सबसे चहेता देश कैसे बना हुआ था. (कमाल ये भी कि ये दर्जा भी इन्हीं की पुरखी अटल बिहारी वाजपेयी  सरकार ने दिया था!) न ये कि ये सिन्धु नदी समझौते को रद्द करने का खयाल तब क्यों नहीं आया था, और आया था तो किया क्यों नहीं? न तब, न अब.न ये कि इसका मतलब पठानकोट वाले उड़ी वालों से कम शहीद थे क्या! क्या पता ये सच में मानते हों, वरना पाकिस्तानी जांच दल को उसी वायुसेना अड्डे पर बुला बिरयानी क्यों खिलाते! 


और हाँ, ये भी कि अब सार्क मीटिंग का बहिष्कार कर रहे हैं तो पठानकोट के बाद सुषमा स्वराज और राजनाथ सिंह दोनों क्यों गए थे? एक एक करके! फिर से वही, पठानकोट वाले कम शहीद थे क्या? 

कहने को तो ये इनको नहीं कह रहे कि हमला कर दो- सीमा पर फौज देख लेगी अन्दर हम. न, उनसे कुछ नहीं पूछ रहे ये. फिर किससे पूछ रहे हैं? उनसे जिनसे पूछना आसान है? जिनको देशद्रोही बता देना देशभक्ति के फर्जी सर्टिफिकेट पाने का सबसे आसान रास्ता है.

September 13, 2016

Police sniffing in kitchens while rapists roam the streets

[This is an AHRC Statement.]
The latest statistics put out by the National Crime Record Bureau gives the Haryana state of India a dubious distinction. It stands second in the number of complaints lodged with the police, second only to Uttar Pradesh. That the population, in general, views police as the last resort in cases of injustice, puts the statistics in perspective.
Haryana, the state with the worst sex ratio in India is particularly notorious for crimes against women, ranging from female foeticide to gang rapes and “honour” killings. It has also seen large-scale violence, including unconfirmed reports of gangrapes of commuters recently, and it took the deployment of the Army to bring the situation under control.
Yet, the government seems to be bothered about something very different from the overwhelming injustice and violence. It is extremely concerned with the protection of cows.
One of the very first things the state government did after assuming power was constitute a Haryana Gau Seva Ayog (Haryana Cow Service Commission). The Commission was given more teeth with the formation of a specialised Cow Protection Task Force (CPTF) within the police, with the mandate of checking cow slaughter and consumption of beef, which are crimes in the state but not across India. A point to note is that it is only the meat of the progeny of cow that qualifies as beef for the bans.
The Commission and the cops in CPTF have taken their jobs seriously. This is exemplified by their decision to check the samples of Biryani, a traditional rice and meat delicacy, from hotels in Mewat area of the state, in order to enforce the beef ban. Media reports also indicate that police have been even mulling making checks in private residences. A senior officer of the state animal husbandry department asserted that there would be more raids if they were to receive complaints.
What would these ‘complaints’ be like? Who would make them? These would of course be private citizens. Here is a question: which section of the Indian Penal Code allows the police to enter kitchens of private citizens on “information” given by other private citizens? Further, what if the “informers” make complaints to settle personal scores, something routine in India and in the state? What if the complaint is found to be false? It would get the family marked out as “beef suspects” regardless and thus make them vulnerable to violence by vigilantes for life? CPTF and the Commission intend to save the cows, but who will save their victims?
The answers are found in the political geography of the raids, which were not statewide. The raids targeted only Nuh, a district with significant population of Muslims, a minority in India. Furthermore, that they were conducted just before Eid-al-Adha (the festival when Muslims sacrifice animals) make them even more suspect, and hint at this being a brazen attempt to polarize communities and give rise to sectarian violence.
Such attempts are not new for the state. Cow vigilantes have been at it for years now. This time, however, it is not the vigilantes, but a Commission appointed by the state itself that is playing this role. Moreover the State is using the police, oath-bound to adhere to the secular Constitution of India and to not indulge in religious witch-hunt of any community.
This does not augur well for anyone: neither the citizens being hounded by their own government, nor the Haryana state, which stands second in crime complaints in India.
The state government has shown that there is virtually no one to stop the farce, rein in the Gau Seva Commission, and stop it from breaking the law itself!
It is time for higher ups, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to rein in the state government being run by his own political party. Mr. Modi had himself said once that 80 percent of cow vigilantes are day-time-vigilantes-night-time-criminals. His understanding of the realities could help him check the actions of the state government.
Independently, the Supreme Court of India needs to look at this attack on the rule of law, being as it is the custodian of the law.

September 12, 2016

A Judicial Joke Funnier Than Pokemon Go

[Published in The Wire on 09 September, 2016] 
A representative image from Reuters
Pokémon GO, a location based augmented reality game, is the newest entrant in the ever-increasing list of things to offend the ever so fragile religious sentiments of some Indians. To play Pokémon Go, users install the app on their smartphones. The app ‘reads’ a user’s location via the device’s GPS and accordingly displays an item in the app that the user can choose to collect. The game has apparently offended some people by displaying virtual eggs in places of worship. Distressed by the “blasphemy”, these aggrieved individuals approached the Gujarat high court and filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the game. The high court, on its part, was quick to offer redress. It admitted the PIL and sent notices to the union and state governments as well as the game makers, US-based Niantic Inc.
Ironically, Niantic Inc. has neither released the game in India nor does it have any immediate launch dates in sight. Consequently, those playing the game are the ones who have downloaded it either from foreign servers, or APK sites. The Gujarat high court is apparently least bothered with such trivial details. Neither was it bothered with its own Chief Justice R. Subhash Reddy’s lament that there are more than 22 lakh cases pending in various courts of Gujarat. The court had all the time in the world to redress the hurt religious sentiments of a few by a game that is not even released in India.
It is this frivolity that is the real bane of the Indian judicial system. In addition to the backlog of pending cases, it is this habit of accepting even the most absurd claims for litigation, while making access to justice almost impossible for the genuinely aggrieved, which has caused a ‘crisis of credibility’ for the judiciary, as highlighted by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur’s own lament in March this year.
There is no dearth of such silly cases in Indian courts even as the genuine ones wait their turn for years, even decades. A whopping 59,468 cases were pending before the Supreme Court as of February 19, 2016 and 1,216 of these have been pending for more than a decade. Collective pendency at the high courts stood at 4,153,957 cases, with 777,630 of them pending for over a decade. The lower judiciary, comprising of district and subordinate courts, had 26,488,405 cases pending by the same date, with 2,043,737 of them having been pending for over a decade.
Add to this the agonising wait for hearings in ‘unlisted’ cases – the ones which do not have a fixed date for the next hearing. As of August 18, 2016, the number of unlisted cases stood at a whopping 33,57,575 cases, as per National Judicial Data Grid, the Indian Supreme Court’s own portal to disseminate information regarding case disposal and pendency.
In sum, as so many cases await even a hearing date, the judiciary does not think twice before taking up such silly cases!
The disease, unfortunately, is not a new one. Indian courts have seen numerous such cases, the most recent ones include sedition cases against popular south Indian actor-politician Ramya for saying that Pakistan is a nice country and not hell. The list also includes a variety of similar sedition cases against a lot of people, based on the flimsiest of grounds: against Rahul Gandhi, for instance, for supporting Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students who were accused of sedition and thus being seditious himself “by association”.
Despite the fact that only the state can charge people with sedition, private individuals lodged most of these cases. Why should judges let such pesky facts come in the way of justice, though?
Similarly, Tamil actress Khushboo was slapped with 22 criminal cases in various courts of Tamil Nadu and even in one distant Indore, Madhya Pradesh, for speaking about premarital sex and advising adolescents to be safe and use precautions. The Supreme Court eventually scrapped all of them in 2010, but not before causing a lot of distress to the actor.
In its historic judgement, the court also reminded Indian judges that the judiciary’s paramount duty is to ensure that no innocent person is subjected to prosecution and humiliation on the basis of false and wholly untenable complaints.
Six years have passed since that judgment and it does not look like judges have learnt any lessons. On the contrary, the disease seems to have spread. Earlier the problem was limited to the lower levels of the judiciary, with super-enthusiastic judges trying to solve perceived historical wrongs and give justice to mythical figures like Mother Sita, but now it has crept upwards.
A Bihar court has, in fact, accepted a petition against Lord Ram for mistreating Sita by banishing her to live in exile in a forest with no suitable justification for doing so!
The Supreme Court, for its part, has initiated no action against either the persons who lodge such cases to harass and humiliate their targets or the erring judges who accept them. The fate of such cases often follows the same trajectory: case gets filed, persons accused get summoned, petitioners enjoy their 5 minutes of fame and the accused suffer through their harassment. Then the cases are disposed of without the court even issuing a reprimand to the frivolous petitioners!
In this context, the case against Pokemon Go does not seem all that surprising. One can bet that the same thing will happen in this case too and only after the Indian judicial system has been rightly mocked in the international arena.
One hopes CJI T.S. Thakur has taken note, for, the crisis of the credibility in the Indian judiciary has just become a tad bit graver.

दुनिया हार से सीखती है, इस जीत से सीखेगा जेएनयू। जय भीम, लाल सलाम।


10 सितंबर 2016 को सूरज ढलते न ढलते लाल है लाल, जेएनयू लाल है के नारों से गूँज उठे जवाहरलाल नेहरु विश्वविद्यालय के लिए उस शाम में कुछ भी नया नहीं था। न वाम खेमे की जीत, न परिषद की शर्मनाक हार। न सांप्रदायिकता को देश का सहजबोध बनाने की मुश्तरका कोशिशों के ख़िलाफ़ जेएनयू का संघर्ष, न जीत। लगातार नए निज़ाम के निशाने पर रहे विश्वविद्यालय को देश का ‘दुश्मन’ बना देने की साज़िशों के बावजूद जेएनयू को जिए हुए हम जैसे तमाम लोगों को इस शाम होने वाला फ़ैसला भी पता था, और उस पर होने वाली दोतरफ़ा प्रतिक्रियाएँ भी। मूर्तियों के खंडित होते रहने के दौर में विरोध का एक प्रतिदर्श बचाए रखने की ज़िद वालों का जीत का उन्माद भी और बहुलवादी भारत में राष्ट्रवाद का हेंगा चला उसे हिन्दूवादी बना देने के सपने देखने वालों से सीने में फिर से उतर गए हार के नश्तर का दर्द भी।

यहाँ एक मिनट के लिए चुनावी जीत की बात परे रख सोचते हैं कि सवा अरब के देश में सत्ता पर क़ाबिज़ लोगों की आँखों में बस 8000 विद्यार्थियों वाला जेएनयू इतना क्यों चुभता है। जवाब है, अवाम के हक़ और इंसाफ़ के लिए किसी भी ताक़त से लड़ जाने की अपनी रवायत और विरासत की वजह से। आख़िर को ये जेएनयू आपातकाल से लेकर देश बेचू नयी आर्थिक नीतियों तक से लगातार जूझने वाला जेएनयू है, उच्च शिक्षा में आरक्षण लागू होने के दशकों पहले से प्रगतिशील प्रवेश नीति लागू कर दूरदराज़ से आए छात्रों को और सभी छात्राओं को अतिरिक्त अंक देने वाला जेएनयू है, छात्रसंघ के नेतृत्व में संघर्ष कर जेंडर सेंसिटाइजेशन कमेटी अगेंस्ट सेक्सुअल हैरेसमेंट बनवाने वाला जेएनयू है।अकारण ही नहीं है कि देश के सुदूर इलाक़ों में जनता के बीच काम कर रहे जितने सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता जेएनयू ने दिए उतने उससे हज़ार गुना संख्या वाले संस्थान भी शायद नहीं दे सके हैं। दूसरे शब्दों में कहें तो विकल्पहीनता के तर्क का सिर्फ़ नकार ही नहीं, एक जीता जागता उदाहरण देता है जेएनयू और यह सत्ता को डराने के लिए बहुत है।

ऐसे परिसर में फ़रवरी के बाद, दरअसल मोदी सरकार के आने के बाद से ही अनवरत हमलों के बाद प्रतिरोध को ही मज़बूत होना था। इसीलिए हम जैसे ‘जेएनयू वाले’ दुनिया में जहाँ भी बैठे हों- दक्षिणपंथी अखिल भारतीय विद्यार्थी परिषद के इस चुनाव में जीत जाने की सम्भावना की बात सुनते थे, मीडिया में ऐसी ख़बरें देखते थे तो बस हँस पड़ते थे। कहाँ तो बिहार जैसा पिछड़ा कहा जाने वाला प्रदेश भी जुमलों और मीडिया मैनजमेंट को नकार प्रतिरोध की राजनीति के साथ खड़ा था और कहाँ जेएनयू के हार जाने के शगूफ़े! वह भी तब जब परिसर के ग़ुस्से के मद्देनज़र इस चुनाव में परिषद की अध्यक्ष पद की दावेदार को भी कहना पड़ा था कि उनका भारतीय जनता पार्टी से कोई रिश्ता नहीं है और वह उनकी बेवक़ूफ़ियों पर जवाब नहीं देंगी! सो फिर से वही, अंतिम फ़ैसला तो यही होना था। वाम-जनवादी जीत और राष्ट्रवाद के हिन्दुवादी और हिंसक प्रतिदर्श की हार।

पर फिर इस चुनाव में सबकुछ पुराना भी नहीं था। वाम खेमे में डर न सही, चिंता बहुत साफ़ थी। एक तरफ़ कुछ लिंगदोह मॉडल लागू होने के असर और कुछ विभाजित वाम के चलते पिछले चुनावों में दशकों बाद परिषद की सेंट्रल पैनल में जीत थी तो दूसरी तरफ़ मीडिया ट्रायल के बाद आए हज़ारों नए छात्रों के साथ पूरा समय भी कहाँ मिला था। पर इन सबसे ऊपर बहुजनवादी राजनीति के साथ बिरसा अंबेडकर फुले स्टूडेंट्स असोसीएशन (बापसा) का उदय, जो अब तक के सारे वाम समीकरणों को बिगाड़ सकता था।

अस्मिता या किसी मुद्दे पर आधारित संगठनों का जेएनयू में आना आम बात रही है। 2006 में यूथ फ़ॉर इक्वालिटी(वाईएफ़ई) उसका सबसे बड़ा उदाहरण है। इक्वालिटी का मज़ाक़ उड़ा अपना नाम रखने वाले उस संगठन ने भी वामपंथी खेमे के चेहरे पर चिंता की लकीरें पैदा की थीं पर फिर उनमें और बापसा में एक बुनियादी फ़र्क़ था- ज़मीन का फ़र्क़। वाईएफ़ई जेएनयू के प्रगतिशील सहजबोध के ख़िलाफ़ खड़ी थी और बापसा उस के साथ। बापसा वामपंथ की अपनी ज़मीन पर खड़ी है- बराबरी और सामाजिक न्याय, हाशिए पर पड़े लोगों के हक़ और हकूक की ज़मीन।

अफ़सोस, इसी ज़मीन पर वामपंथी खेमे की ग़लतियों की तमाम इबारतें भी दर्ज हैं। पहली अपनी सक्रियता को राजनैतिक सांस्कृतिक सवालों से परे कर आर्थिक मुद्दे पर ट्रेड यूनियनिज़्म में समेट देना। दूसरी उससे भी बड़ी- सांप्रदायिक फ़ासीवाद के बेहद बड़े ख़तरे से लड़ने के दबाव में उसने सड़क पर सामाजिक न्याय की लड़ाई की ज़मीन ही नहीं बल्कि प्रतिनिधित्व का हिस्सा भी लगभग छोड़ ही रखा था।

दलित-बहुजन साथियों ही नहीं, हम सबको सभी बड़ी कम्युनिस्ट पार्टियों के नेतृत्व में दलित बहुजन समुदायों की लगभग अनुपस्थिति बेहद साफ़ दिखती है। मंडल के बाद की भारतीय राजनीति में बहुजन और दलित अस्मिता के उभार के बावजूद ऐसी छवि आत्महत्या का प्रयास करने जैसी ही थी और वही हुआ भी। एक तरफ़ बहुजन अस्मिता की लड़ाई के नाम पर मुलायम सिंह यादव, लालू यादव से लेकर दलित अस्मिता के साथ बहन मायावती जैसे नेताओं का उभार और दूसरी तरफ़ हिंदी पट्टी में वामपंथी धमक वाले इलाक़ों का सिमटता जाना। याद करिए कि बिहार में बेगूसराय से लेकर उत्तर प्रदेश के ग़ाज़ीपुर-मऊ जैसे इलाक़े कभी लेनिनग्राद काहे जाते रहे हैं, कम्युनिस्ट सांसद विधायक चुनते रहे हैं।

यह कहने का मतलब बिलकुल नहीं है कि सांप्रदायिकता से लड़ाई कोई छोटी या बाद की लड़ाई थी। पर फिर-सामाजिक न्याय की लड़ाई भी उतनी ही ज़रूरी थी। लालू यादव ने यह बात पहचानी और मुस्लिम-यादव गठजोड़ बना दोनों लड़ाइयों को साथ लड़ सकने, या कमसेकम ऐसा भ्रम बनाए रखने का, उदाहरण दिया। वामपंथ ऐसा नहीं कर सका और अप्रासंगिक होता गया।  

अपनी जमीन पर ऐसे संकट के साथ फिर इन चुनावों के ठीक पहले परिसर में हाल के दौर में सबसे मज़बूत वामपंथी संगठन आइसा के एक राष्ट्रीय नेता और जेएनयू के ही छात्र पर बलात्कार का आरोप लग जाना वामपंथी खेमे के लिए एक और झटका था। उम्मीद के मुताबिक़ आइसा के आरोपी पर तुरंत कार्यवाही करने के बावजूद परिषद से लेकर मीडिया तक इस घटना को ले उड़े थे और इसे एक व्यक्ति का अपराध (या एक संगठन का ही) बल्कि जेएनयू का मूल चरित्र साबित करने में जुट गए थे।

फिर इसके बाद वह हुआ जो अकल्पनीय था। ऐसे हमले के बीच वाम एकता के नाम पर वह आइसा और एसएफ़आई साथ आ गए जो वामपंथी ज़मीन पर सिर्फ़ अपनी दावेदारी के लिए अब तक एक दूसरे के सबसे बड़े दुश्मन रहे थे। जेएनयू को जानने वालों के लिए यह ख़ुशी की बात होने के बावजूद एक झटका देने वाली ख़बर भी थी। आख़िर कम्युनिस्ट पार्टी ऑफ़ इंडिया (मार्क्सवादी) के छात्रसंगठन एसएफ़आई और कम्युनिस्ट पार्टी ऑफ़ इंडिया (मार्क्सवादी-लेनिनवादी) लिबेरेशन के बीच ‘असली’ वामपंथी होने की लड़ाई कोई नयी लड़ायी नहीं है। सिंगूर नंदीग्राम के दिनों में वामपंथियों ने इस झगड़े का चरम देखा है जब आइसा/लिबरेशन के कार्यकर्ता सीपीएम/एसएफ़आई के कार्यकर्ताओं को देखते ही संशोधनवादी ही नहीं बल्कि तापसी मलिक का हत्यारा तक कहते रहे हैं। बेशक उसके बाद ज़मीनी सच्चाइयों के मद्देनज़र बिहार चुनावों में दोनों को साथ आना पड़ा हो, जेएनयू में वे अलग और लगभग दुश्मन ही रहे हैं।

ऐसे हालात में ‘वाम एकता’ के दावे के बावजूद एआईएसएफ़ और डीएसएफ़ जैसे दो वामपंथी संगठनों को छोड़ कर ही सही उनका साथ आना इस चुनाव के परिणाम को तय करना ही था। ख़ैर, इससे नाराज़ डीएसएफ़ ने संयुक्त सचिव पद पर चुनाव लड़ा और तमाम दुष्प्रचार के बावजूद दूसरे स्थान पर रहा। यह वाम खेमे के लिए दूसरी सबसे बेहतर ख़बर और इस बात का सबूत मानी जा सकती है कि जेएनयू में अब भी मुख्य बहस वाम-जनवादी-सामाजिक न्याय खेमे के भीतर ही है।

पर फिर बापसा का अध्यक्ष पद पर दूसरे स्थान पर रहने के साथ बाक़ी पदों पर भी शानदार प्रदर्शन वाम खेमे के लिए एक चेतावनी भी है और कोर्स करेक्शन का मौक़ा भी। यह चुनाव संगठनों की जीत हार से ज़्यादा दक्षिणपंथी खेमे के हमलों के बीच जेएनयू को ज़िंदा रखने के सवाल पर लड़ा गया था सो अब तक संघर्षों के हिरावल रहे वामपंथ की जीत लगभग तय ही थी। पर फिर बापसा के उभार ने उसके भीतर की दिक़्क़तों को सामने लाकर रख दिया है। अब अगर उन्होंने सामाजिक न्याय, अस्मिता और उनसे जुड़े प्रतिनिधित्व के सवालों पर रूख साफ़ और बेहतर न किया तो यह ठीक वैसे अंत की शुरुआत भी हो सकती है जो उन्होंने दलित-बहुजनवादी राजनीति के उभार के साथ हिंदी पट्टी में झेला है।

आइसा-एसएफ़आई के असहज सही स्वागतयोग्य गठबंधन के लिए इन सवालों से जूझना शायद आसान नहीं साबित होने वाला। अपनी ख़ुद की प्रतिद्वंदिता का भूत छोड़ें ही, अस्मिताओं और उनमें भी जाति का सवाल उनके मातृसंगठनों के लिए भी आसान सवाल नहीं रहा है। ऐसा सवाल जिसके जवाब अस्मिताओं को छद्म चेतना कह क्रांति के बाद का कार्यभार बताने से लेकर पश्चिम बंगाल में वाममोर्चे के बड़े नेता और पूर्व मंत्री सुभाष चक्रवर्ती के ख़ुद को पहले हिन्दू, फिर ब्राम्हण फिर कम्युनिस्ट बताने तक में घूमते रहे हैं।

पर फिर बापसा के उभार ने साफ़ कर दिया है कि अब वाम खेमे के पास न इस सवाल को मुल्तवी करने की सहूलियत बाक़ी बची है न ही प्रतिनिधित्व से इंकार की। भारत में जातीय गोलबंदियों के सहारे सामंतवाद से लड़ाई की राजनीति शुरू करने वाले डॉक्टर लोहिया की बात याद करें तो ज़िंदा क़ौमें पाँच साल भी इंतज़ार नहीं करतीं यहाँ तो क्रांति तक की गुज़ारिश है। दूसरे बापसा ने वाम से हम नहीं तो परिषद आ जाएगा वाला ब्रमहास्त्र भी छीन लिया है।


संदेश साफ़ है- जीत मुबारक पर सामाजिक न्याय पर कोर्स करेक्शन अनिवार्य है साथियों। वैसे भी बापसा वाम का दुश्मन नहीं स्वाभाविक सहयोगी है। हमने संदेश सुन लिया तो बचा रहेगा, बना रहेगा जेएनयू। नहीं, तो इबारत साफ़ है।




September 09, 2016

A democracy that discriminates and disgraces citizens even in death

[This is an AHRC Article.] 
Unable to pay the ambulance drivers INR 1500, or around USD 22, a young mother was forced to sit out the night with her child’s dead body outside a hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district. This happened less than two weeks after a nationwide outrage over the ordeal of a tribal man named Dana Majhi thousands of kilometers away, in Kalahandi district of Odisha. Refused ambulance service to carry the corpse of his wife back to his village because he had no money, Mr. Majhi had to carry her on his shoulders, with his minor daughter in tow. Sadly, the Meerut case was not the only one to happen since.
Salamani Behera, an 80 year old woman, was run over by a train in Soro. As mandated in every accidental death, the staff of Soro Community Health Centre (CHC) needed to send her body for post mortem to the district hospital in Balasore but they could manage no ambulance. Unable to pay for alternative transportation, and forced by the setting in of rigor mortis making the body stiffer and stiffer and therefore difficult to carry, the staff broke the body at the hip, wrapped it in an old sheet, tied it to a bamboo pole. They then carried it to the railway station from where the body was taken to district hospital by train.
Even this is not it for the country that claims to be the largest democracy of the world. In another case in another state, a crematorium in Neemuch of Madhya Pradesh did not allow Jagdish Bhil, a tribal man, to cremate his wife as he did not have the required money- INR 2500 or around USD 37. Disgusted, he collected garbage- waste paper, plastic bags and whatever else he could find, made a pyre of that and cremated his wife.
The ordeal of Dana Majhi had shook the nation, or at least it seemed so. The remaining three went largely unnoticed. The shock value of such things happening in a country claiming to be on track to become the world’s next super power was perhaps spent with the first. Or it did not, the democracy and its more fortunate citizen knew it all along. Who does not know the state of affairs in public hospitals across India, after all? Who, further, can really be unaware of the real status of the thousands of welfare schemes- hadn’t the Supreme Court of India lambasted the union government for the ‘woeful implementation of wonderful schemes’ less than a year ago!
Let’s look at the cases closer. Easy way would be to blame the lowest rung staffers- the hospital staff which refused ambulances Majhi and Meerut lady, the ones who broke the dead body of Salamani Behera by the hip. That is how the system works, by finding scapegoats. But are they really to be blamed? Are they allowed to spend from some contingency funds for such eventualities? And if not, which is the case, they would be simply unable to pay from their already meagre salaries. That is, again, if they are not from contractual staff as is mostly the case in the new economic regime. The workers at the MP crematorium would definitely be even worse off- from marginalized castes, working for some contractor for a pittance.
Where does the blame really lay then? Dana Majhi’s case sheds light on that. The government of Odisha had two schemes to help poor and destitute families in cases of death of a member. The first of them, Harischandra Sahayata Yojana was launched in August 2013 to assist families monetarily to conduct last rites of the deceased. Following up on this, the government of Odisha has declared another 'Mahaprayan Yojana' to provide free transportation of dead bodies of family members of the poor and the destitute in February this year. Yet, Mr. Majhi had nothing to bank upon to on the ground as the scheme was only ‘declared’ not ‘launched’. The fact that the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched it the day after outrage over Mr. Majhi is a telling comment on how these schemes work in fact.
Further, Mahaprayan Yojana wasn’t the only government scheme that did not reach Mr. Majhi. Indian Express, an Indian newspaper later reported that Mr. Majhi was not paid for the work he did under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in October 2015. He would not have been forced to carry the body of his wife on his shoulders had he been paid his dues of INR 4,064 perhaps. As he was not, he had to borrow money to take his wife to the hospital and then spend on tests, medicines and everything!
Going by the schemes in force, he should not have been forced to pay any of that though. He should have been covered under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, an insurance scheme for the BPL families covering health expenditures up to INR 30,000 in any hospital, public or private. He was not enrolled in that too. He should not have been made to pay all that he was, Rs 300 for blood test, Rs 200 for medicines, Rs 100 for registering his wife’s name and Rs 10 for getting a seal on the papers, as Indian Express added, as the user fees in Odisha government hospitals are in fact much lower, as one can see here. Evidently, Mr. Majhi was a double victim of the system. Of getting denied of what was legitimately his first and then forced into bribing to get even something as basic as medical care.
One can bet that similar would be the circumstances in all the cases mentioned above. Poor people, citizens of the country, would be denied the benefits of the schemes made for them. They would have nowhere to go to seek redress as the system would be infested by vested interests feeding off their lives. Failed by the authorities’ oath bound to protect their lives- with dignity- they would most often have no support from civil society and media either. The vicious cycle end in lost lives- their own or of kith and kin and then they would be discriminated against and disgraced even in death as one can see in the all the cases here.
It is just that their ‘stories’ did not start at the death that somehow got them what they never had- attention to their otherwise invisible and dehumanised existence in a country all set to become a superpower. Death, after all, can only be a culmination of the injustices inflicted on them all their lives. The injustices would begin with no functioning nutrition security for the poor that would push them into a vicious circle of poverty-malnutrition-wasting/stunting-unemployability-even more poverty. Almost non-existent primary health care would then add to this by failing to take care of even the most easily avoidable and curable diseases that affect the kids of the poor.
It would then continue in the form of the BPL cards denied to the needy, the bribes sought for that Rs 500 a month mention for destitute elderlies, the ration stolen as a cut by the Public Distribution Shop owner, the public health centre never visited by the doctors posted there, the free, government ambulances that would never reach them because of deflated tyres and what not. It would continue as there would be schemes but hardly any monitoring on the ground. This would continue because there would be no avenues to seek redress against any of that. It would continue as the media would rarely reach them in the countryside- so distant from its glossy studios and offices in the metros- unless there is a disaster like flood or drought.
The list can go on and on but the point is simple. That their stories do not begin at death- more so in such undignified conditions. They begin much before and nothing much would change unless one goes all the way back and starts putting things in place from the beginning. The problem is that the system, welfare system in particular, itself has turned into a skeleton and requires a complete replacement with a living and functioning one. No overhauls can put life back into skeletons, can they?

September 07, 2016

The Great Cot Robbery that wasn't at Rahul Gandhi Rally and Media, the paid PR of Modi regime

1st two are No News for Media! 
Indian Media, more so its electronic mutant, is disgusted with the Great Cot Robbery at Deoria during Rahul Gandhi's Kisan Yatra kickstarting Indian National Congress' campaign for forthcoming Uttar Pradesh Elections. It would black out Rahul Gandhi's scathing critique of tremendous failures and corporate sell out of Modi government. They would hide how he exposed that this government kept on writing off public debt to corporates while abandoning the peasantry to fend for itself. That goes against the (paid) brief they hold from their paymasters. 

Two years of Modi Raj and Smriti Irani misrule of HRD ministry has ensured a sharp drop in global rankings of all the top Indian educational institutions- from the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) to the Indian Institute of Science (IISC).  IISC has in fact been thrown out of top 150 after decades. And these are the findings of The 13th edition of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2016-17 released recently and not some 'sicular' propaganda as Bhakts' troll army would like to insinuate. 

This drop in global rankings of Indian educational institutions is of course no news for media, the great cot robbery that wasn't at RG rally is. And this is not the only thing that has taken place under this regime. 

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had to confess that new employment generation in India has take an unprecedented hit under this regime. Forced to come out with truth by a question in Lok Sabha, she had to admit that almost 3/4th of the new jobs generated in 2014 have just vanished- the figures have come down from from 4.21 lakh in 2014 (half of the year was under UPA rule) to 1.35 lakh in 2015. It is just that she calls the exceptional collapse a mere "Deceleration"! Deceleration is a gradual decrease in speed after all, not a nose dive slashing 3/4th of it! 

Media would not bother with it. It would parrot the line in obscure one column news items tucked away on 7th page of their print editions and put its focus back on the Cot Riot/Robbery in Rahul Gandhi's meeting. 

Social media morons follow suit. Even a few ones with 'liberal and secular claims'. They would ignore the videos of the event that show people taking the cots, 2000 of them, away smiling, posing for cameras almost in queue. 

They would ignore questions like what else, exactly, should have been done with those cots by the way. They should have been burnt or broken down like all the Lal Kila model stages built for Modi campaign or thrown away like Yoga mats? 

Rahul's cot rally should have been appreciated for changing the Indian politics wastage mantra into usage by the people and here they were- mocking them as the unpaid agents of paid media. No wonders though, people get what they deserve and sorry to say that we, as a people, deserve nothing more than Modi! 

Here is an ANI video of that great Cot Robbery many of you are orgasming at- watch it once at least
Indian Media, more so its electronic mutant, is disgusted with the Great Cot Robbery at Deoria during Rahul Gandhi's Kisan Yatra kickstarting Indian National Congress' campaign for forthcoming Uttar Pradesh Elections. It would black out Rahul Gandhi's scathing critique of tremendous failures and corporate sell out of Modi government. They would hide how he exposed that this government kept on writing off public debt to corporates while abandoning the peasantry to fend for itself. That goes against the (paid) brief they hold from their paymasters.

But then, let us come back to this a little later and look at few other things.

Two years of Modi Raj and Smriti Irani misrule of HRD ministry has ensured a sharp drop in global rankings of all the top Indian educational institutions- from the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) to the Indian Institute of Science (IISC).  IISC has in fact been thrown out of top 150 after decades. And these are the findings of The 13th edition of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2016-17 released recently and not some 'sicular' propaganda as Bhakts' troll army would like to insinuate. 

This drop in global ranking of Indian educational institutions is of course no news for media, the great cot robbery that wasn't at RG rally is. And this is not the only thing that has taken place under this regime. 

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had to confess that new employment generation in India has take an unprecedented hit under this regime. Forced to come out with truth by a question in Lok Sabha, she had to admit that almost 3/4th of the new jobs generated in 2014 have just vanished- the figures have come down from from 4.21 lakh in 2014 (half of the year was under UPA rule) to 1.35 lakh in 2015. It is just that she calls the exceptional collapse a mere "Deceleration"! Deceleration is a gradual decrease in speed after all, not a nose dive slashing 3/4th of it! 

Media would not bother with it. It would parrot the line in obscure one column news items tucked away on 7th page of their print editions and put its focus back on the Cot Riot/Robbery in Rahul Gandhi's meeting. 

Social media morons follow suit. Even a few ones with 'liberal and secular claims'. They would ignore the videos of the event that show people taking the cots, 2000 of them, away smiling, posing for cameras almost in queue. 

They would ignore questions like what else, exactly, should have been done with those cots by the way. They should have been burnt or broken down like all the Lal Kila model stages built for Modi campaign or thrown away like Yoga mats? 

Rahul's cot rally should have been appreciated for changing the Indian politics wastage mantra into usage by the people and here they were- mocking them as the unpaid agents of paid media. No wonders though, people get what they deserve and sorry to say that we, as a people, deserve nothing more than Modi!
Here is an ANI video of that great Cot Robbery many of you are orgasming at- watch it once at least!
https://twitter.com/samar_anarya/status/773091312497065986

September 03, 2016

ग़ैरइस्लामी तुरंत तीन तलाक़ और लिबरल कठमुल्ले

प्यारे मुसलमान दोस्तों- ख़ासतौर पर स्त्रियों

सोशल मीडिया पर अक्सर मुस्लिम नामों वाले ऐसे 'लिबरल' नज़र आते हैं जो औरतों की बदहाली पर दुखी रहते हैं बशर्ते वह बदहाली मनुस्मृति मानने वालों के हाथों हो रही हो। वे खाप पंचायतों के ड्रेस कोड से लेकर लड़कियों के मोबाइल इस्तेमाल न करने जैसे फ़तवों से लेकर (अ)सम्मान हत्यायों पर ठीक ही उबलते रहते हैं। पर फिर बुर्क़े, तुरंत तीन तलाक़ से लेकर लड़कियों के लाइब्रेरी जाने तक का कोई मसला सामने आया नहीं कि इनका लिबरलिज़्म वो गुलाटी मारता है कि औरतों को बच्चा पैदा करने की मशीन बना देने पर आमादा इनके संघी भाई भी शर्म से पानी पानी हो जाएँ। 

अब देखिए न, बुर्क़े के ख़िलाफ़ स्त्रियाँ बोलीं नहीं कि ये क़ुरान निकाल लाते हैं- उसमें हिजाब दिखाने लगते हैं। बिना ये बताए कि हिजाब का मतलब पर्दा है- बुर्क़ा नहीं कि औरतों को चलता फिरता तंबू बना के क़ैद कर दो- सर पर चादर भी हिजाब ही है।

पर वही बात तुरंत तीन तलाक़ को मुस्लिम पर्सनल लॉ बोर्ड के समर्थन की हो तो इनकी गुलाटी और ज़बरदस्त होती है- उस पर ये क़ुरान नहीं निकालते। निकालें भी कैसे- क़ुरान के मुताबिक़ तुरंत तीन तलाक़ ग़लत है, ज़्यादातर इस्लामिक देशों में प्रतिबंधित है। तुर्की ने तीन तलाक़ (तुरंता) को 1926 में प्रतिबंधित कर दिया, इजिप्ट ने 1929 में, सूडान ने 1935 में, ट्युनिसिया ने 1956 में, पाकिस्तान ने 1961 में. जी, पाकिस्तान ने भी- वह भी इस्लामिक गणराज्य (इस्लामिक रिपब्लिक) बनने के बाद। अब तय करिए कि हिन्दुस्तान में मुसलमान औरतों की माँग पर 2016 में प्रतिबंधित कर दिया जाय तो खतरे में कौन पड़ेगा- इस्लाम कि ठेकेदार? 

सो उस पर ये नए नए तर्क निकालते हैं- पहले तुरंत तीन तलाक़ (एक बार में दिए गए) के विरोध को बड़ी सफ़ाई से तलाक़ का ही विरोध बनाने की कोशिश करते हैं- उसमें पकड़े जाते हैं क्योंकि पूरा तरक़्क़ीपसंद आंदोलन बोले तो प्रगतिशील आंदोलन ही सती से लेकर बेमेल और हिंसक विवाहों में फँसी स्त्रियों के तलाक़ के अधिकार का समर्थन करता है। इतना ही नहीं- वह तो शादियाँ ऐसे ही न चल रही हों तो भी तलाक़ के हक़ के साथ खड़ा होता है- सहमति से अलग हो जाने के हक़ के साथ- फिर वह ईसाईयत के "जब तक मृत्यु हमें अलग न कर दे" वाली शादी के ख़िलाफ़ हो या सनातनियों के सात जन्मों वाली शादी के। 

तब ये नए नए तर्क गढ़ते हैं- तीन तलाक़ एक बार में देने का 'हक़' न मिला तो पति पत्नी की हत्या कर देगा जैसे तर्क। बाक़ी आँकड़े नहीं देते कि जिन धर्मों में एक बार में तीन तलाक़ नहीं है वहाँ पत्नियों की हत्या ज़्यादा हो है या जिन इस्लामिक देशों में एक बार में तीन तलाक़ ग़ैरक़ानूनी है वहाँ ज़्यादा हो रही हैं। 

बाक़ी ऐसे 'बड़े' मामलों में भूल ही जाइए- इनके लिबरलिज़्म का बुर्क़ा उस किसी भी जगह सरक जाता है जहाँ बात मुस्लिम महिलाओं के हक़ की हो- अलीगढ़ मुस्लिम विश्वविद्यालय की सेंट्रल लाइब्रेरी में लड़कियों के जाने की इजाज़त न होने का इनका समर्थन याद है? बाक़ी हर मुद्दे पर ये ज़रूर ख़ामोश रहते हैं- एक स्टेटस लगा फिर बीफ़ के नाम पर इंसानों का क़त्ल पर चुप होकर सपा/बसपा/कांग्रेस/मीम कहीं भी अपनी ठेकेदारी की जुगत में लग जाते हैं। 

इन्हें ठीक से पहचानिए। हक़ हकूक की ही नहीं, अमन और इंसाफ़ की लड़ाई की राह में ये ठीक वैसे रोड़े हैं जैसे इनके कुम्भ/हज में बिछड़े संघी भाई।

आपका 
बस अभी इनके द्वारा संघी क़रार दिया जाने वाला अपना 
समर 

September 02, 2016

Mewat rapes and murders expose the total failure that is the police

[This is an AHRC Article.]
M.L. Khattar, Chief Minister of Haryana, finally announced the constitution of a Special Investigation team (SIT) to probe the armed robbery, double murder, and gang rapes in Dingerheri Village of Mewat that occurred on 25 August 2016. In the incident, armed robbers broke into a house, gang-raped two women of the family, in front of the family members, and then bludgeoned an elderly couple to death, while also grievously injuring others. This move of the Chief Minister has arrived after serious questions were raised over the conduct of Haryana Police in the aftermath of the incident.
Zakir Hussain, Member of Legislative Assembly representing Nuh, the constituency in which Dingerheri Village rests, was one of those who raised a few questions. He alleged that the police had failed to reach the Village even hours after they were informed about the incident, and had dillydallied into investigating the crime, as well as arresting the suspects. He also blamed the police of diluting the case by charging the accused under Sections 459 and 460 of the Indian Penal Code, carrying the maximum punishment of 20 years, whereas murder charges under Section 302 attract the death penalty. He asserted that the police deliberately added Section 460 (penalty for murder during robbery), instead of gang rape and murder, and that it was all done at the behest of a Union Minister from the state.
The constitution of the SIT exposes the real status of policing in the Haryana state even if one ignores the serious charges levelled by MLA Zakir Hussain. To put it simply, why should an incident of crime require SITs for investigation if the police department is working fine? The routine demands for constitution of SITs and/or investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the premier investigative agency of India, after every such crime, expose the fact that the people have no faith left in the police force and its investigative abilities.
The total loss of faith in the police gives rise to the next question: how then would the victims of crime get justice? Not all of them would get an “outrage” loud and powerful enough to move the state into speedy investigation and redress. The recurrent “outrages” have, in fact, skirted this very important question, and helped “normalise” everyday violence that the people have to suffer. The thumb rule for these outrages seems to be simple: if the crime is not brutal enough and is not committed against the members of middle class, it deserves no outrage; as a corollary, there is no possibility of justice in most cases.
In the given scenario, the silence of the outrage industry has ensured that Dingerheri rapes and murders went largely unreported in the national media. They would have, in fact, been forgotten, like hundreds of similar cases, had it not been for the persistent struggle of the community for justice and visits by some parliamentarians in getting the case some traction in the print media, though the electronic media notably continued to remain silent.
The point, however, remains the same. What if there was a massive outrage seeking justice for the victims? The National Crimes Records Bureau, the official crime statistics keeper of India, put the total number of reported rape cases in 2015 at 34,094. Given the grammar of shame inscribed on the bodies of victims, and not perpetrators, in rape cases, the real figure is widely understood to be much larger than the official one. Can one have an outrage for every rape case reported? Police, prosecution and judiciary exist for the purpose of delivering justice and redress to victims, don't they?
The NCRB data busts this myth too! Despite all the noise made by the government authorities after the infamous December 2012 gang rape-murder in Delhi, 144,914 cases of crimes against women were pending from earlier years, as of 31 December 2015. Add to this, 327,394 cases registered in 2015, and the façade of a functioning justice system is laid bare.
The pendency rates, at the level of investigation by the police are alarming, to say the least: 157,249 cases, or a whopping 33.3 percent of cases of crimes against women were pending even investigation, forget trial, on 31 December 2015. Does this remind anyone of all the “fast track courts” promises made after December 2012?
Can anything get worse than these figures? Check the court records and one knows they certainly can: as many as 1,080,144 cases of crime against women were pending trial in 2015. Add to this the conviction rate at a lowly 21.7% and pendency at staggeringly high 88% and the real chances of women victims of crime getting justice becomes apparent.
Constituting any number of SITs is not going to take care of this massive logjam that frustrates victims’ fight for justice. It is also not going to stop crimes against women, as constituting SITs is no deterrence. It can only reassure criminals, by telling them that they need not fear the incompetent police incapable of solving cases on its own, given the government cannot constitute SITs for every case. It will deal with only those cases that have an “outrage” potential and will deal with them through these cosmetic moves.
If only the outrage industry learns lessons from December 2012 protests. The authorities had then announced a plethora of schemes to deal with the outrage. Setting up a Nirbhaya Fund with 2,000 crore to compensate victims of sexual assault was one of them.
In May 2016, the Supreme Court of India had to lambast the Union and state governments for underutilization of the funds. A vacation bench of Justices P.C. Pant and D.Y. Chandrachud had then told them sternly that unless the scheme was used effectively it would remain nothing else but “lip service”.
Sadly, the same will remain the fate of victims of crimes against women unless all the stakeholders, from citizens to State authorities, turn their gaze back to the justice institutions themselves. One cannot ensure justice to people when the institutions, right from the courts to the police, are themselves sick. Alas, not many in India seem to even take cognizance of the fact; most prefer to get carried away with announcement of SITs and CBI investigations.

August 09, 2016

From PM Modi's 'shameful silence' to 'shoot me' call to cow fanatics

 
[This is an AHRC Article
Also published in the Counter Currents.]

Narendra Modi’s high octane poll campaign was littered with the promise of Development, a capital D. Big business, in India and abroad, had bought his promise too. And now, after a little more than 2 years old premiership, the developments under his watch have rattled most of them. The ‘developments’ were not the “development” they were looking for. Further, the consequences of developments under Modi were harming their prospects.

The growth he had promised was nowhere to be seen in economy. The only thing that had really grown under him was violence- be it large scale ones for quotas that crippled Haryana and Gujarat for weeks or its MSME version- Micro, Small and Medium level violence committed by self-appointed and regime supported cow vigilantes running amok and bleeding everyone in their way- from farmers to people traditionally dependent on skinning dead cattle and dealing in hides.

Leather industry was an obvious loser with almost 10% decline in exports in 2015 as compared to 2014. Yet, it was not the only one. For instance, cricket, the religion that unites Indians, was an unlikely victim with balls costs soaring multiple times. They had to, as the best balls are made of cow skin sheets and they were nowhere to be found in Modi’s India. The industry, overall, was worried and it showed in its clarion calls.

Others were worried about violence too- albeit more over its social costs than economic ones. The media was one of them, of course with the notable exception of most of Indian electronic media. The New York Times summed up the anger in its editorial that slammed PM Modi’s ‘shameful silence on cow vigilantes’. The ever so conscious of his image abroad PM was expected to take note, and that he did the day after, fittingly in an event mimicking ‘Townhall’ addresses of President Obama.

The outburst against Gau Rakshaks (cow protectors) was stunning to say the least, more so from someone who had made his political career attending cow protection events and slamming an imaginary “pink revolution” based on cow slaughter. Yes, imaginary, as the statistics showed that even as Modi talked about large scale cow slaughter, the population of cows in India grew by more than 6%. The outburst was even more spectacular in its sustainability, PM Modi slammed the cow vigilantes again in less than 24 hours, this time in a meeting with Bhartiya Janata Party members in Telangana.

Unfortunately, a closer look at, or listening to, the outburst must have sent shivers down the spine of those who believe in democracy and rule of law and all that both these terms entail. In the townhall meeting at Delhi, named MyGov anniversary meeting, Modi expressed deep anguish at cow vigilantes and termed 80 percent of them as rank anti socials. He accused them of wearing the garb of cow protectionism to hide their criminal activities.

He went a little further a day later, in Telangana meeting, and pleaded for stopping the violence against his “Dalit Bretheren” at once! Here is what he said exactly:

“I would like to tell these people that if you have any problem, if you have to attack, attack me. Stop attacking my Dalit brethren. If you have to shoot, shoot me, but not my Dalit brothers. This game should stop”.

Nothing wrong in the statement itself, unless one notices the spectacular omission. The omission of Muslims, the prime target of the violence by the cow vigilantes till the focus shifted towards Dalits! Yes, he had not even bothered to mention the need of stopping the cow vigilante violence against Muslims, forget expressing any anguish for them!

Not that he could be unaware of the facts. He had to break his silence on Dadri where a mob had lynched a man over suspicion of beef consumption. The news of similar attacks in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, lynching and hanging of two Muslims, one a minor in Latehar, Jharkhand, killing of another in Nahan, Himachal Pradesh and recent attack on Muslim women in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh were all over the place.

Why, then, PM Modi singled out his ‘Dalit Brethren’ while leaving Muslims, equal citizens of India out completely? The only possible explanation for the bizarre, and unbecoming of the leader of the country, omission can be an attempt to create a rift between Dalits and Muslims- tied together both by economics of leather and attacks by vigilantes. Both the communities have come together strongly in the recent past to take on the cow vigilantes and their political handlers, and it must have rung alarm bells among PM’s right wing Hindutva party. Howsoever divisive his past could be, a PM doing this is plain shocking and ominous for the Republic.

Sadly, the problem with his outburst doesn’t stop at polarizing. It rather went several notches up with his melodramatic, almost Bollywoodish call of ‘come and shoot me, but not my Dalit Brothers’. Was that some sort of admission that law enforcement agencies of India cannot take on these outlaw vigilante groups? Or it was a backhand message to them to read through what he omitted and not take his outburst seriously? It is not every day that a PM of a country aspiring to be a superpower pleads to criminals for attacking him and sparing his brothers!

This also exposes the final chink hidden in the armor of this supposedly anguished outburst. It was not really an outburst- it was rather a 20 to 30 percent controlled shrewd political statement. PM Modi did not stop at asking for identifying and cracking down on 70 to 80 percent criminals among the ranks of cow vigilantes. He also called for identifying the real ones and respecting and supporting them. In plain words that is nothing but legitimizing and institutionalizing vigilantism and that’s dangerous for a democratic country that operates by rule of law. Vigilantism is illegal in any form in a country that follows rule of law. All the grievances in such a country should be channeled by public institutions of justice and law enforcement not by vigilantes. Even if they are, as PM insinuated, true cow worshipers.

Looking at it whichever way, the outburst doesn’t augur well for our beloved country.