During V P Singh’s tenure as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, there was a protest demonstration at his office in Lucknow. Around 1500 protesters came from different districts of Eastern Uttar Pradesh. There were many leaders from different organisations who delivered fiery speeches against him. This protest was led by socialist leader and former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar. The protest continued for three hours till a delegation of protesters was called in to meet the Chief Minister. The first thing that V P Singh said in the meeting was : “You have come all the way to Lucknow, did you arrange for lunch ? You are too hungry to talk”. Chandrashekhar was very agitated so he said we are not here for lunch, we have certain demands that you have to accept. V P Singh’s reply was “I will not even look into your demand unless you and all the protesters have lunch.” He asked the officials to immediately arrange lunch for the demonstrators. Over lunch both the leaders talked about the problems and the demands.
What V P Singh did was not something great but he just extended a basic political courtesy. This is how leaders behave in a democracy. Political differences and fights should never become personal. But, times have changed. Today, pygmies are reigning over Indian politics. We are being governed by narrow minded and insensitive leaders. That’s why all protests are suppressed by force. Be it Delhi or any other State, Indian democracy has been turned into a ‘lathicracy’ for protesters. The response to all demonstrations is almost the same: the Government uses all kinds of tactics to stop protestors coming to the venue. If they are able to reach the venue, policemen use water cannon to disperse them and if this fails then their ‘lathis’ do the talking.
UPA’s denial mode is a complete disconnect from reality. The reality is that Government has completely lost its credibility. Mis-governance and corruption, anti-people policies have shaken the faith in the system. The protest and the Government response are based on two diametrically opposite interpretations of reality. The difference between people and the Government is immense. In a democracy, people have the sole option of agitating to prove their point. But the Government can use unlimited resources and the State machinery to not just prove what they think is right but also to defame the protesters.
It is happening because Parliament, Executive and the Judiciary have failed to perform to the expectations of the people. The Government and political parties are redefining Indian democracy, negating the participation of people and civil society with utter disrespect for public opinion. In the scheme of present governance the so called ‘aam admi’ has been alienated and humiliated. This new face of democracy is dangerous because suppression of peaceful protests is considered a victory. Sadly, the UPA government now can happily claim that they have been able to
‘eliminate’ protesters from the street of Delhi.
At India Gate, young boys and girls, professionals and social activists were demanding harsh punishment in the gang rape case. They were seeking justice swift action. But the Congress Party, the media and the police collectively conspired against these protesters. They put the blame for the death of a constable on protesters. Although doctors at Ram Manorhar Lohia Hospital kept saying that there was no internal or external injury on the body of Subhash Tomar, the police and the Government, with help from the media, accused peaceful protestors for the death of Tomar. It all started a day after the unfortunate gang rape. A few students of JawaharLal Nehru University started an agitation at Munirka. The Congress Party misread the situation. UPA ministers did not realise that a small protest will snow-ball into a nationwide movement against rape. Neither the Prime Minister nor the Home Minister came forward. No assurance was given. The anger of the people was growing. Delhi’s youth and student organisations first organised a Candle March at India Gate but the next day it turned into a big protest. Youths took part in this agitation in a large numbers. The Government did what it does best: used force instead of dialogue. India Gate, Vijay Chowk and Rajpath turned into war zone. Police used force indiscriminately. Even elderly woman were not spared. More than 150 people were injured. These people were not criminals. But the first reaction which came from the Government was that there are anti-social elements in this agitation and the protest has been hijacked by outsiders. Baba Ramdev, former Army Chief General V K Singh and Arvind Kejriwal joined the protest in support. Apart from Delhi, this movement spread to other cities.
It would be wrong to assume that the protest was just about the gang rape. The recent protests are expression of people’s frustration over the overall governance. But the Congress party remained and is still in denial mode. UPA leaders think that all is well in the country. There is no problem. People are happy but there are some trouble makers who habitually create a nuisance to get media attention. They think that TV cameras are responsible for the protest. This is the reason they used water cannon on TV cameras and reporters. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an advisory to ‘show these protests with responsibility’. UPA’s denial mode is a complete disconnect from reality. The reality is that Government has completely lost its credibility. Mis-governance and corruption, anti-people policies have shaken faith in the system. The protest and the Government response are based on two diametrically opposite interpretations of reality. The difference between people and the Government is immense. In a democracy, people have the sole option of agitating to prove their point. But the Government can use unlimited resources and the State machinery to not just prove what they think is right but also to defame the protesters.
It would be wrong to assume that the protest was just about the gang rape. The recent protests are expression of people’s frustration over the overall governance. But the Congress party remained and is still in denial mode. UPA leaders think that all is well in the country. There is no problem. People are happy but there are some trouble makers who habitually create a nuisance to get media attention. They think that TV cameras are responsible for the protest. This is the reason they used water cannon on TV cameras and reporters.
In the case of constable Subhash Tomar, the Delhi police first claimed that he was stabbed thrice. The Home Minister said he was injured. The Police Commissioner even described where and how he was injured. But all these claims turned out to be false. Pictures of Tomar started pouring in on Facebook and Twitter. Everything became clear. The media was forced to show the visual of the actual incident which was conspicuously ignored for two days. A brave boy and a girl came on TV and presented the truth before the country. The doctors of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital also said that Tomar had a cardiac arrest and he died because of it. Police charged 8 boys for attempt to murder and could not produce any proof. The Court granted bail to all 8 youths. Now the question is simple : why did the police ‘charge’ 8 youths without any proof? An honest Government should have acted and punished the police for fabricating a murder case. But the UPA Government has its unique way of dealing with the protesters.
It seems the Government has decided to curb all the voices of protest. That is why, apart from these 8 youths, the Government lodged FIRs against V K Singh, Ramdev, Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia though they were protesting in a peaceful manner. General V K Singh was continuously appealing that it is a peaceful protest and they should be allowed to go to India Gate. Well, the government decided to remove Z+ security from V K Singh. This news came promptly in the media but no media house tried to find out whether General V K Singh has ever used Z+ security. After retirement he went to many cities and TV channels could have rewound their tapes to find out the truth. No one has ever seen Gen V K Singh with security guards. Indeed, the intention of the Government is to humiliate him. People are judging every action of the UPA government. I read a comment on Twitter. It said “Cong should know Gen V K Singh does not need security as people of India are his security cover. Z+Security is needed for them who are scared of people.”
In this entire episode, the Government is responsible for disgracing itself. There were many opportunities to satisfy the protesters but were they missed. The biggest problem of the Congress was that it could not find a single leader in the party or the Government who could reassure people. When the protest started snow balling at India Gate, it became a leaderless gathering. The protesters did not know where to go and to whom to talk. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had a chance. He could have walked to the protesters and given them a commitment of action. But he chose to be arrogant and rigid. To top it all he gave irresponsible statements and things went from bad to worse. If the Government had taken any action against the Delhi Police, people would have gone home satisfied. But the UPA government committed another mistake by complimenting the Commissioner of Police for his work. The last opportunity that the Government missed was when Ramdev, V K Singh, Arvind Kejriwal joined the protesters. The UPA Government could have easily invited them for a talk and could have asked them to end the agitation. But the Government chose not to recognise them as leaders and committed another mistake by calling them anti-social elements and outsiders even lodged FIRs against them for inciting violence.
The Government used the media and charged 8 young people for the murder of constable Subhash Tomar. People have returned to their homes. But the people of India are tired of inflation, anti people policies, loot of natural resources and the insensitivity of political leaders. The people of India cannot take any more. ‘Enough is enough’ – that is what is going on in their mind. They want fundamental change. This is a very crucial time. India is on the verge of a change. The only question is whether this change will come through the present set leaders or by a new force which will build the country in accordance the expectation of the people of India.
CBI TRAP FOR BIFR CHAIRMAN?
The role of the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) has been changed. Eyebrows have been raised in the manner in which the Chairman of Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) is trying to rush through certain decisions before he retires in January. In a peculiar case concerning an industrial house of western U.P. the Chairman is trying to favour one family group against the other. First he tried to bully the IDBI to give a recommendation as he wanted. However IDBI hid not buckle under pressure. Now, he has engineered a note and is trying to get it signed by his fellow members in the BIFR as per the “commitment” he has given to his patrons before he demits office. However BIFR sources say CBI has got a copy of the note and the Chairman is under the scanner of CBI.
If at all he pursues this matter he will be in the CBI trap.
In this context it should be recalled that in the wake of sickness in the country’s industrial climate prevailing in the eighties, the Government of India set up in 1981, a Committee of Experts under the Chairmanship of Shri T.Tiwari to examine the matter and recommend suitable remedies thereof. Based on the recommendations of the Committee, the Government of India enacted a special legislation namely, the Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Act, 1985 (1 of 1986) commonly known as the SICA. The main objective of SICA is to determine sickness and expedite the revival of potentially viable units or closure of unviable units (unit here in refers to a Sick Industrial Company). The Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Act, 1985 (hereinafter called the Act) was enacted with a view to securing the timely detection of sick and potential sick companies owning industrial undertakings, the speedy determination by a body of experts of the preventive, ameliorative, remedial and other measure. The Board of experts named the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) was set up in January, 1987 and became functional with effect from 15th May 1987. Government companies were brought under the purview of SICA in 1991 when extensive changes were made in the Act including, inter-alia, changes in the criteria for determining industrial sickness.