B L Saraf
Maharashtra Police has raided homes of several activists and arrested them from various places in the country. These activists are alleged to be linked with the Maoist Party which reportedly planned to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The arrest of the five activists for allegedly helping Maoists, we are told, is the part of Centre’s long pending plan to cripple an influential network suspected to be working for the underground left wing extremists who attack security forces and innocent people, associated with the developmental work. According to the report prepared by the Union Home Ministry, in 2012, 7 out of 10 activists arrested by the Maharashtra police belong to the organizations the UPA Government had listed as auxiliaries of the underground Maoists.
Long before PM Narendra Modi came to the scene, the view prevailed that left wing extremists have acquired influential constituency among urban intellectuals. No wonder former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh defined left wing extremists as the NO-1 security threat. His government took action against the intellectual mentors of the left wing and arrested Kobard Gandhi and G N Saibaba.
The Pune police action has not gone down well with some people. They say it is an attempt to muzzle the voice of those who speak for the vulnerable. The arrested have approached the Supreme Court for a remedy. The Apex Court has very aptly described dissent as a” safety valve for democracy which if we do not allow, then the pressure cooker will burst.” Therefore, for the one who feels for the civil rights of the individuals, it becomes a hesitating job to say something which may, even remotely, tend to sound defensive of state’s action that is aimed at curbing the dissent or curtailing freedom of those who claim to speak for the dispossessed and deprived people. But sometimes we have to concede respect to the objectivity. So, a fair comment will be in order.
There is a problem with these activists and what passes for protection of natural rights of the citizenry in India. They assume discretion and reserve power and privilege to themselves, to interpret what constitutes a violation and for whom their heart should bleed. These ‘ worthies ‘ to whom the law of the land has caught up with have, systematically and by a design, shown themselves sympathetic to some communities and certain sections of our society who have total disregard for the due process of law, and the prosperity of those very people for whom these activists claim to speak. They will fight for minority rights but when it comes to the welfare of some sections within that minority they look other side. They will speak for women in general but when it comes to welfare of women of a particular faith they have no word of sympathy. Case in the point is their deafening silence on Triple Tallaq issue. Similarly, they have no word in sympathy for the women who have suffered at the hands of Church priests in Kerala and Punjab.
We haven’t heard these’ worthies ‘speak a word about enactment of anti-Blasphemy law by the Congress Government in Punjab, which knowledgeable observers feel will turn Punjab into a theocratic Pakistan. Had it been done in a BJP ruled state these ‘worthies’ would have let lose hell and called all sorts of names to Modi and gone to town chest beating that P M has turned India into a Hindu -Pakistan.
It is quite appropriate for one to feel for the liberties of the other. Well, no democracy will survive if it doesn’t hold regard for civil rights of the citizenry. However, it has been our experience that even those who swear by liberty have no compunction in blatantly condoning the uncivil acts committed by some. It is no secret that Maoists have mercilessly slaughtered many unsuspecting innocent people in the forests of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Leave alone condemnation of the act by them, these activists sprung up in defense of the murderers by intellectualizing the dastardly act. Unfortunately it has turned into” us versus other” battle. The discourse has become so prejudiced and one dimensional as to make it nearly impossible to have a rational debate on the real issues faced by the people. At times one wonders whether these ‘gentlemen’ are really concerned for the deprived, or, they are driven by some ‘ other’ agenda.
Kashmir has been the another example: a favored destination of most of the ‘ bleeding hearts ‘. On every visit they shed so many tears, selectively and conveniently, on the violation of human rights. True, most of the Kashmiris have suffered rights violation: many have died as, indeed, many are dying there. But why a selective grief. Kashmiri Hindus and some other sects of a faith have met with death and destruction, without their fault. They have been thrown all over; displaced, deprived and disenfranchised. These ‘worthies’ have proved totally blind to their plight, retaining only a one dimensional focus. There is no word of sympathy for the innocent street walker or the unarmed security person-, who is home on leave,- whom terrorists have done to death for no fault at all. If anyone tries to speak for these displaced and dispossessed people these activists shout them down as fascists and hurl accusations of raking up a ‘non – issue ‘ and romanticizing a ‘ no- cause ‘.
(The author is former Principal District & Sessions Judge)
B L Saraf