Modi chooses Dhaka to rail against Pakistan
This ‘Patriot’ needs lessons in Statesmanship as well
In March 2013, the then Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf flew on a private visit to the Ajmer Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti to pay homage , like many other pilgrims, to the late Sufi saint.
Just a couple of months before in a border skirmish the Pakistanis had caught some Indian soldiers and beheaded and mutilated their bodies causing huge outrage in India and abroad against this barbarous act of the Pakistani forces.
Then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, equally disgusted by the act, had announced that “It cannot be business as usual” with Pakistan. Perhaps that is why Raja Ashraf who got hardly any opportunity to settle in his seat, since he assumed office almost at the fag end of the PPP five year rule, avoided any official engagement and flew straight to Jaipur, drove to Ajmer and back and then flew back to Lahore, not touching Delhi at all.
But respecting the protocol the then Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed went all the way to Jaipur to perform his diplomatic duties hosting a lunch for the visiting Pakistani Premier and returned, avoiding any formal discussions on Indo-Pak relations. But that was also the time when the UPA government was on its last legs and the Prime Minister, facing any number of accusations had his back to the wall. On the other hand the star of Narendra Modi was on ascendance and he was warming up to play a national role now, in effect tying up his boots to enter the Prime Ministerial arena.
He lost no time to mock and shame the UPA government for offering the minimum courtesy of a protocol lunch to the Pakistani Prime Minister on the Indian soil. There was widespread euphoria and wild clapping not just in his attending audience but also millions of those watching him on the TV screen, when Modi’s speech was carried by all the TV channels where he said, “Go Drown Yourself in the Sea, you should be ashamed of yourself, I ask the youth here can there be any protocol for those who behead our Jawans.”
Here was a man with a steely resolve. Such was Modi’s aura that all those concerned about the nation’ security and integrity being left in the hands of a weak and irresolute government of Dr Manmohan Singh, immediately decided to vote Modi as India’s 14th Prime Minister.
So overwhelming was the response of the “Patriots” to Modi’s call to save the Nation that for the first time the BJP secured a majority in the Lok Sabha and later in December it performed another miracle of winning overwhelming majority of seats in the Jammu and Udhampur regions of Jammu and Kashmir, as many as 25 of a total of 37 in these two Lok Sabha constituencies away from Kashmir valley, the hotbed of separatist and militant elements.
It left some bitter taste in the mouth of all the patriots screaming ‘Modi, Modi’ when he aligned with Mufti Mohammad Saeed and formed a government in J&K. After all it was Modi’s BJP which rarely distinguished between Saeed and daughter Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the separatist Hurriyat in the Valley. Still for the BJP lovers it was a big consolation that for the first time BJP became a ruling party in the state, though a junior partner of PDP. That government is clearly proving to be primarily a PDP government and all of 25 BJP MLAs hardly influencing Mufti Saeed’s agenda.
The “Patriots” put up with even that. But then the latest move of the BJP-PDP government is beyond the comprehension of any patriotic element in the country. The J&K government has succumbed to the demands of Khalistani elements in Jammu to hold state wide programmes to observe the 31st death anniversary of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the self-proclaimed Khalistani who led Sikh militancy in Punjab in the early 1980s leading to the confrontation with the Government of India. Finally he had to be defeated through a devastating military exercise at the venerated Harminder Sahib, Amritsar where Bhindranwale died challenging the might of the Indian Army. It took more than a decade and the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, several prominent Punjab officers and public figures to finally quell the demand for separate Sikh state of Khalistan.
The BJP has always considered Bhindranwale a “Terrorist” and never reconciled to giving him the status of a martyr, which many of his followers consider him to date. In 2011when a TV anchor attempted to draw comparison between instigating religious leaders like Baba Ramdev and Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the then BJP spokesman Tarun Vijay was hugely upset and unequivocally called Bhindranwale a terrorist. There were many other occasions when the BJP called Bhindranwale a terrorist. Yet it is a BJP partnered Government that succumbed to the demand to observe Bhindranwale’s martyrdom in a big way.
And why not? In next door Punjab, the land of Bhindranwale, where again the BJP is an equal partner with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in the Government since 1997 with a few breaks though, but now ruling continuously since 2007, a memorial to the martyrs of 1984 Operation Blue Star, implicitly to Bhindranwale and his followers, has been built right inside the Golden Temple complex under the nose of the Akali Dal-BJP government and the macho crusader Modi sat twiddling his fingers.
He is incensed about Pakistan’s support to terrorism but doesn’t utter a word on the Indian soil for fear of people playing back to him his “Doob maro, sharam karo” speech and ask him what he did in last 377 days as the Indian Prime Minister. Instead he chose to express his ire against Pakistan on the foreign soil in Dhaka, making Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her party Awami League and all the liberals and secular people in Bangladesh even more vulnerable to Jihadi pro-Pakistan elements of Jamaate Islami.
Modi claimed he agitated for the creation of Bangladesh in 1970. But he ignored the fact that Hasina’s father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was killed along with almost all his family members by pro-Pakistan Jamaati elements in the Bangladeshi army and that section ruled Bangladesh for decades after that, with Sheikh Hasina living in exile in India. Even today she and virtually all liberals and secularists in Bangladesh are fighting a bitter battle against the Jamaatis who enjoy the backing of Mamata Banerjee’s Jamaati comrades in West Bengal. They are killing the liberals and secularists in Bangladesh with impunity.
Any Indian statesman would have avoided choosing Dhaka to vent his spleen against Pakistan, to save India’s dependable friend Sheikh Hasina from the charge of being an Indian stooge. But then Modi for all his passion to travel abroad is no Statesman.