Will our institution stand and make us feel like proud owners of democracy
The release of the murderers and rapists who have been sentenced to life imprisonment in the Bilkis Bano case are now out curtsy Gujarat government’s decision of remission under a special act to commemorate the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
Some days back, I wrote that if the government really want the 75th birth anniversary of Azadi then it should think of releasing all those who are undertrial and languishing in various jails of India particularly those who are political undertrials but what we saw was the goons and murderers who got out and then garlanded as well as sweets were distributed.
Hindutva, off late, has become showing its agenda unambiguously and doing things in a brazen-faced manner. It does not care for law, niceties and anything. Law is Hindutva and Hindutva is law in today’s time. Nothing else matters. Right and wrongs are now decided on purely the basis of whether you are with the BJP or government side or not.
Many expressed outrage and shock. Why are we shocked?
Have not we seen a pattern in it which has been followed since 2014? Remember the murderer of Akhlaque in Noida when died in jail after an ailment, his body was wrapped in the Tricolor. Don’t forget the murderers of brave Police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh got bail and were given a rousing reception as well as BJP’s ticket. Look at Komal Sharma who along with others attacked the students of JNU, Rambhakt Gopal who fired at the student of Jamia Milia protestors during anti-CAA-NRC protests and Nupur Sharma, hate monger now under police protection the story is clear that the Hindutva rabble-rousers will get police protection and VIP security such as Arnab Goswami, Sudhir Chaudhary, Kangana Ranaut all have got big security jacket so that they can continue with their hate propaganda.
The other side of the story is Bhima Koregaon accused are languishing in Jail. 81 years old Varavara Rao just got bail after three years of incarceration.
80 years old Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy died as an undertrial. All other accused in the Bhima Koregaon case are well-known authors, activists and above 55-60 years of age yet no mercy is shown to them.
Prof G N Sai Baba who suffers from physical disability and needs someone to assist him is now virtually counting his days in jail. There seems to be a complete lack of respect, sympathy and basic humanity. Hatred has overpowered us.
Once upon a time, we used to say win people from love but now hatred has become part of our culture and gone deep into our hearts so much that we have forgotten that it will ultimately kill us.
You can also see how the state has dealt with mob lynching cases.
Most of the time, it is the victims who face victimisation. Where is the Pahlu khan case? Where is the Jharkhand lynch mob case? While the state was active when a Muslim fanatic brutally murdered Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor in Udaipur and Rajasthan government was quick to compensate his family yet they remain silent on the gruesome murder done by Shambhulal “Raigar to a Muslim man in 2017. We don’t even know the case status and who knows Raigar might be the Dalit face of Hindutva in the coming years as happened in several cases related to Kandhamal, Odisha.
Most of the convicts in various riots in Gujarat 2002 are now out from various cases and enjoying state patronage while valiant fighters like Teesta Setalvad, R Sreekumar and Sanjeev Bhat languish in jails though Teesta’s petition comes for hearing next week, it is a fact that these people are not murderers or hate mongers but believed in Constitution and rule of law yet they have been put in jail by a vengeful government.
The selective use of the law against the activists, writers and human rights defenders while providing patronage to criminals, rapists and murderers just because they support the ruling dispensation is the new low in the Indian political and judicial system.
The prime minister wants to honour women while claiming that India has now arrived at the ‘world stage’ which definitely is a welcome step but where are we in the World democratic index? What is our status in the happiness index? Look at our number in the medical system? What about our education system and the ranking of our colleges and universities? Where are we in terms of violence against women? What is our number in the Global Hunger Index? Our status in the global media freedom index? Where is our economy going? Can the government provide us with data related to jobs and employment generation?
Civil society is already crumbling under heavy loads of rules and regulations to control their activities and finances. Media has already become part and parcel of the establishment.
Our nation can not become number one by just rhetoric. It needs solid action and planning. It needs robust institutions and their autonomy.
Jailing intellectuals and activists while garlanding rapists and murders will not make the nation great.
As a society, we need strength to accept our diversity and dissent while showing absolutely no tolerance for crimes of rape and murder. Let us hope our institutions will stand up for the rights of the people so that our republic grows and we feel proud of their actions.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat
August 18th, 2022