Pseudo-Secularism

Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

UPA's Godhra muddle

By V. Sundaram, IAS (Retd.)

Truth’s fountains may be clear, her streams are muddy,
and cut through such canals of contradiction,
that she must often navigate o’er fiction—Lord Byron in Don Juan

“Shame is communal and shamelessness is secular. Decency is communal and indecency is secular.”

Lalu’s Justice Banerjee Commission is indeed a carefully planned, planted, treacherous tsunami on the eve of Assembly elections in Bihar this month. Politics in Bihar during the last 30 years, as a practice, whatever its profession, has always been the systematic organisation of caste, communal and religious hatreds. The greatest master acrobat in this wily game has been Lalu Prasad Yadav who has so far kept his balance by saying the opposite of what he does all the time. His unorthodox style of politics and politicking has paid him rich dividends for the last 20 years. He sincerely believes in the political theory that in Bihar’s communal politics too much truth can be often uncouth and planted untruth can be potently quite couth. He has continuously demonstrated that he has an evolved respect for the rule of force and a born contempt for the rule of law.

As soon as this tainted minister assumed charge as Railway Minister in the Humpty Dumpty, rickety, secular UPA Government in New Delhi, instead of focusing attention on several matters connected with railway development in his own allotted ministry, he gave knockdown priority to the appointment of Justice U.C. Banerjee as chairman of a high level commission to investigate into the causes of the fire in the Sabarmati Express that killed 59 Kar Sevaks in February 2001. This committee was formed in September 2004 and was given extension on December 3, 2004. This committee submitted its interim report on January 17, 2005. Justice Banerjee has come to the revolutionary conclusion in a record time of less than 150 days that it was purely an accident. He has come to this conclusion by completely ignoring the work of enquiry being already conducted by Justice G.T. Nanavati and Justice K.G. Shah Commission for the last two years. Justice Banerjee has also chosen to ignore the findings of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the railway police formed three years ago to probe into the Godhra train carnage.

Even as Lalu Prasad Yadav was blowing his victorious conch while referring to the findings of Justice Banerjee report, SIT, Chief Deputy Inspector General of Police, Shri Rakesh Asthana at a hurriedly convened press conference on January 17, 2005 stated that they have rejected outright the findings of the Railway Minster-appointed Justice U.C.Banerjee Commission and that they have enough evidence to back their conspiracy theory. Shri Rakesh Asthana stated, “Our investigation strongly indicates a conspiracy that was hatched at the Aman guest-house on February 25, 2002, two days before the Godhra train carnage.” He narrated the sequence of events as per the SIT’s version and sought to know how could an “accidental fire”.

Against the above factual background, it will be clear that Lalu Prasad Yadav has indeed masterminded and stage-managed the Banerjee Commission report in the manner and measure required by blatantly abusing his ministerial authority. He thinks that this doctored report will serve as a lethal weapon against his opponents, particularly the ‘communal’ BJP and its allies, in the Assembly elections in Bihar to be held this month. He has consistently proved in the last three elections the belief in his conviction based on his own experience that you can fool all of the people all the time in Bihar, if not in the rest of India. That day is not far when the poor and helpless millions of Bihar would say to Lalu Prasad Yadav: “Sir, your ‘new secular’ mask tells us more today than your ‘old communal’ face.”

The people of India would like to know as to why Lalu Prasad Yadav should arrogate to himself the unallotted duties and responsibilities of a Union Home Minister in appointing a commission like the Banerjee Commission when another parallel commission called Justice Nanavati and Justice Shah Commission is already halfway through the work of judicial enquiry and investigation into the Godhra massacre, which took place nearly three years ago on February 27, 2002?

How could a small and unforeseen accident inside a railway carriage kill hundreds of people unless they voluntarily committed self-immolation for the cause of either UPA brand of secularism or Modi brand of communalism?

To conclude, Dr Manmohan Singh and his Council of Ministers, ably assisted and guided by great patriots of international stature like Soniaji and Laluji, have given cubic content to the following deathless message of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes:

“The law is the witness and external deposit of our moral life. Its history is the history of the moral development of the race.”

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