GIVE PRIORITY TO PEACEFUL VOICES

Perhaps Governments may never understand what effects their inability to hear and their insensitivity has on people, whether it is the Government of Delhi or be it the Madhya Pradesh Government or be it the Tamil Nadu Government. In Kashmir, we cannot speak about the state Government of Kashmir, as the state Government of Kashmir says that whatever it speaks is on the orders of the Central Government, and whatever it does, it does it on the bidding of the Central Government. But the result is the same, if any section puts forwards its demands in a peaceful manner, and on rejection of those demands if they take any steps to attract the attention of the Government on the issue, then the Government does not pay attention. And the result of not paying attention is that when the name of that organisation known as the Government is taken, a certain disregard creeps into the minds of the people. When much time goes by and the Government does not pay attention then the people take a slightly aggressive step. However the effects of that slight aggression do not fall on Government property, it falls on their own physical bodies. The people do picket demonstrations, they bear police ‘lathis’ ( sticks ). This has become common in Kashmir, but the way in which the state Government has started discriminating, this is a really amazing thing.

In totality the entire administration has become deaf. It has become insensitive. On the other side, if an IAS officer is kidnapped then the Government by making efforts again and again, by giving money, agrees to those terms which should not be agreed to, and gives assurance of its acceptance to those terms. What is the message that the Government is trying to give? The farmers of the entire nation are asking,  should it now be taken for granted that the Government is not going to listen to any  voice which is raised in a peaceful manner?

The development work which you will do, you will do only on fertile land. The land which gives three or four crop yields, the land which fills the food stores of the country, the land which is the source of bread and butter for the villagers, the development work will take place on that land, whether they want to make a nuclear power plant there, whether they want to build a cement factory or they want to build a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) there. These will all take place on fertile lands. And when the farmers or the people of that area would agitate against it, then the Government, with the help of ‘lathis’ ( sticks ) would make them understand how idiotic it was to agitate against the Government. This thing troubles the people.
The people of Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu are opposing the building of a nuclear power plant. They are saying that you can build a power plant, but build it in that place which is infertile, where there is no yield of crops. A nuclear power plant was set up at Gorakhpur in Haryana, the people there are opposing this and in fact wherever nuclear power plants are being set up in the country, the people of those places are not in its favour, but the Governments are in its favour, because the Government has made an agreement with America according to which nuclear power plants are to be set up in our country. The argument of the Government is that there will be an increase in the production of electricity because of this. And when full investigation of the matter was done it was revealed that the setting up of one nuclear power plant would take approximately 10 to 15 years of time. And with the electricity need which would be required by the population at that point of time, the country would be able to fulfill a total of just 7 per cent of the electricity from this nuclear power plant. But this does not make any difference for the Government, because the Government makes a road every year and again spends money to broaden that road the next year. If it make a road then drains are not made. When it make a road or a bridge, it does not accord consideration to the volume of traffic after two to three years. One monsoon arrives, and that’s the end of the road. This is our Government’s planning capability and the results of planning. How would such a Government estimate that after 12 to 15 years, if the nuclear power plant fulfils only 7 per cent out of the total need and because of which electricity would become so costly, then what is the meaning of setting up these nuclear power plants ? But the Government is not bothered at all with this. The Government which will be in power after 15 years or those who will still be alive after 15 years, then they will find these answers. The Governments at that time would beat their own heads. It does not make any difference to today’s Government. Actually, the present Government only worries about its own tenure. What are the right and wrong activities that are taking place during its tenure, it does not matter to the Government what would be the result of this work after a time span of 15 to 20 years, or will it even give any results or won’t give any results. The Madhya Pradesh Government raised the height of a dam, without considering how many people would come under the slap of water and how their family and houses, cultivation, will all be submerged in water. The Government did not do any planning about where they will rehabilitate these people, how will their houses be made, or their harvest will be damaged and how will they have their food. These people are not from China, Pakistan and Bangladesh. These people are residents of our own country. They give their votes to that Government which has taken the decision of increasing the height of the dam. And when the people made picket demonstrations then the Government could not understand their words and when those people went for water satyagraha (peaceful protest) sitting in water for 17 continuous days, then also the Government did not wake up from its sleep and a light statement came that “its okay, we would now keep the height of the dam at its previous height or reduce it somewhat”, and after this, by flailing around ‘lathis’ (sticks ) and batons, arrested those people who were seated in the water satyagraha, and stuffed them in jail. In Kashmir, if the youth come out on the streets, speak any words then they are shot not in the waist but in the chest and now ‘lathis’ ( sticks ) are no longer used there. In totality the entire administration has become deaf. It has become insensitive. On the other side, if an IAS officer is kidnapped then the Government by making efforts again and again, by giving money, agrees to those terms which should not be agreed to, and gives assurance of its acceptance to those terms. What is the message that the Government is trying to give, and this question is also being asked by the farmers of Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Haryana. And through them the farmers of the entire nation are asking, should it now be taken for granted that the Government is not going to listen to any voice which is raised in a peaceful manner?
I went to Nawalgarh recently. Nawalgarh is a ‘kasbah’ (small town ) in Rajasthan where there are an overwhelming number of ‘Havelis’ and where, after Jaipur, the most foreign tourists come. Two cement factories are trying to buy the lands of the farmers in Nawalgarh. The harvests of approximately 50,000 people would be destroyed. And how will those 50,000 people have their food is not known. These factories want to take the lands of these villages and the Government is standing along with them and the Government is trying for acquisition of these lands, to give these lands to the cement companies after acquisition. The affected farmers are doing satyagraha since the past two years in the Nawalgarh Tehsil on this issue. But this is going unheeded by the Government, and as the saying goes, “not even one lice is crawling in the ears of the Government” and they are asking neither has any survey been done and neither has the Government’s intelligence given them information about how angry the public is. When we spoke with the people of Nawalgarh they said that the movement of satyagraha is useless. This is not going to bring about any solutions. Till the time we frustrated people do not burn buses, do not burn Government offices, don’t bash up the Government officials, till then the Government is not going to listen to our voice. And from here starts the anxiety about democracy. In democracy today, a sense of distrust has crept into the leaders, may they be in the Government or may they be from any political party. In democracy, voices should be heard, those which are peaceful voices should be heard first of all. Those raising their voices should be called and an effort should be made to understand their words. Solutions can be found at a later stage. But at least listen to their words. The Government does not listen to the words and the Governments are not even afraid about what sort of message is going to the public. The message which is passing over is, as has been told by the people of Nawalgarh, that till the time you demonstrate through peaceful demonstrations, give memorandums till then the Government won’t listen to your words. To make the Government listen to words, it is necessary to resort to violence, burn Government property, stop trains, stop buses and when this also does not work then kidnap Government officials. Does the Government want to do this in all the places? When I speak about Government, I mean to say Governments, Government of each party.
The regret is on this issue is that the party which fought the biggest fight for democracy and forced the British out of the country, ending its rule, that Congress party is at the head in the country in not listening to peaceful demands. Bihar is also not lagging behind in turning a deaf ear to peaceful demands; Uttar Pradesh is also not lagging behind. The example of Madhya Pradesh is very fresh. The example of Tamil Nadu is also very fresh. In totality the message which is going over to the common people of the country, that message is dangerous for democracy, and scary. The Government will not listen to our words. But still we want to make a request to the Government that if you do not listen to peaceful voices then you would give a legal logic to extremism and Naxalism that in the country where peaceful voices are not heard, the voices of destruction are heard. Don’t do this. If you do this, then a quest would start to find out how much of a role each party played in the destruction of democracy. The people of this country by giving sacrifices, by standing on the gallows, by taking bullets have gained Independence. The political parties should respect that Independence. And the Governments which have taken birth through political parties should respect democracy and should listen to the peaceful voices of the people instead of turning a deaf ear and disrespecting the people. Sometimes, disrespect of people’s voice can prove to be costly. Do not tease the public; fear the public and open your ears to listen to the problems expressed peacefully by the people.

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