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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 30 New Delhi July 14, 2018

Face of the Danger and Our Task

Sunday 15 July 2018, by SC


Among several major developments in the domestic scene of late the one that has caught national attention and caused widespread distress is the most reprehensible act of Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha felicitating eight lynching convicts in Jharkhand. As The Times of India recently argued in an editorial on the subject,

Sinha is free to believe the men were wrongly convicted, but his celebration at the juncture where they received bail is unacceptable for any public functionary, let alone a Union Minister. Propriety demands that he waited till an acquittal but such decorum is increasingly missing as politicians hurry to reap hypothetical electoral dividends from causes that marginalise minorities and normalise hatred, even lynchings.

Here it is necessary to bring into focus one point: there have been several serious anti-people acts by politicians in general wherein all politicians can be tarred with the same brush. But cases of lynching have been the handiwork of nefarious elements of the Sangh Parivar alone, especially when the specific case of Jharkhand was one of cow vigilantism, the victim in it being a Muslim cow trader.

With allround condemnation greeting such behaviour on the part of the BJP Minister and MP, and the Congress even demanding that he be sacked from the Union Council of Ministers and Parliament, Sinha tried to wriggle out of an awkward situation by first declaring that the persons involved were his constituents and they were felicitated when they were out on bail. Subsequently he reiterated that he did not condone any kind of vigilantism, cow vigilantism included, and the law must take its own course. If that was so he had no business to felicitate men convicted by a fast-track court.

But Sinha was not alone. His ministerial colleague, Giriraj Singh, the Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, who represents Bihar’s Nawada in the Lok Sabha, publicly met and greeted VHP and Bajrang Dal activists arrested in connection with communal violence during last year’s Ramnavami. This happened a day after the incident involving Jayant Sinha.

The PM, as usual, is maintaining a studious silence with regard to all such incidents.

These are clear indicators of the path being traversed by the Narendra Modi Government. It is high time for the secular-democrats across the country to realise the gravity of the situation, comprehend the enormity of the danger and do the needful in the coming Lok Sabha polls next year. There is no alternative but to urge the electorate to unite (alongside unity in the ranks of all the non-BJP Opposition parties) and act decisively at the earliest. The current dispensation at the Centre needs to be defeated at all cost and dislodged from power if the idea of India, as we have known and nurtured it since independence, is to be preserved in its entirety in the days ahead.

July 11 S.C.

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