Don't Differentiate Between 'Crimes'One staunchly believes in rule of law, fair and efficient investigation and prompt and unbiased justice. But when the whole process becomes biased and one-sided, with those ruling the country having their own interpretations for terms like anti-national, sedition and dissent, the country ceases to have rule of law. Or at least rule of law as it exists in the statute books. Draconian laws are made to suppress dissenting, but often sane, voices just to satisfy the megalomania of the ruling classes. No political party or leader in India today is democratic, civil or magnanimous enough to tolerate people with a view that differs from his or her own. If the view is expressed by a person from within the party, he or she is promptly sidelined or even expelled. If the view is from the citizenry, the person is harassed using multiple tools or arrested under the plethora of laws that are made ostensibly to prevent enmity between communities but are in reality used to silence people from castigating the ruling dispensation of the day.
By Sunil Garodia
A letter found in a raid or a name taken by person who has been arrested is enough for the investigating agencies to raid and arrest prominent citizens on the charge of having links with Maoists. The arrest today of Varavara Rao, Arun Fereira, Venon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navalakha all social activists who were working with tribals presumably for their alleged links with Maoists, as also the arrest of Prof. Shoma Sen and four others in June, is not right and is designed to instill fear in the minds of social activists who work with marginalized people. The government has forgotten these tribals, the corporate class wants to occupy their lands and they lead a subsistence level existence. These activists are all they have to protect them from further suppression. By trying to prevent them and others like them from helping the poor, the government is doing a great disservice to the nation. The whole process was started by the Congress, as historian Ramchandra Guha has rightly pointed out, and this government is proving to be no different in fact it is taking it to the extreme.
But when this comes under the backdrop of the Kathua rape, the daily lynchings under the guise of protecting the cow and other misdemeanors where people associated with the Hindu right are actively involved but are not arrested or prosecuted, it shows that rule of law is being followed by the government through tinted glasses. If making provocative' speeches at Bhima Koregaon was an offence that could have led to enmity between communities, isnt killing someone just on the suspicion of possessing beef not more so? Why is the government so concerned about the former but sleeping on the latter? If all these crimes are treated with an even hand, fairly investigated and brought to justice, one would have no criticism to offer, for a crime is a crime and deserves the punishment prescribed by law. But when the government stoops to choose and pick between crimes, its motives become suspect and this cannot be tolerated in a democratic country. One doesnt subscribe to Left or Maoist ideology, but one acknowledges their right to have their own views and propagate them without fear or suppression as long as they do not directly incite mobs to violence.
Picture courtesy: screengrab from Times Now