This is your moment of reckoning, Mr Modi

By

Faraz Ahmad

This is a moment of reckoning for Narendra Damodardas Modi, our dear Prime Minister as also his alma mater the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS ) and its Sarsanghchalak Mohanji Bhagwat. This is the moment which could make Modi into a great hero, to find a permanent place in Indian history standing shoulder to shoulder with Indira Gandhi whom he has only learnt to envy and dislike.

Yes, it is the hour when he should turn the pages of history and recall how Indira Gandhi tackled Pakistan when the Pakistan army led by General Yahya Khan disdainful of democracy and secularism let loose the butcher of Dhaka General Tikka Khan on the poor unarmed hapless Bengalis of then East Pakistan simply because they seemed more modern, secular and sought their democratic rights, a blasphemy to the Pakistani army. They butchered men and children in thousands and committed mass rape of  women not even sparing young university students by entering women’s hostels in Dhaka and other towns and cities because they hated the audacity of the Bengalis whom they considered mere subjects, to question and challenge them. Basically, the Pakistani ruling elite hates democracy, secularism and anything modern. That is why their Prime Minister Imran Khan a puppet of the Army-mulla mafia could celebrate the occupation of Afghanistan by its Talibani mercenaries.

Today’s situation in Afghanistan in more ways than one, reminds us of what happened in the then East Pakistan and how Indira Gandhi tackled the influx of refugees and how her empathy with the fleeing Bengalis persuaded her to eventually liberate militarily that part and create Bangla Desh. But before that she did a lot of diplomatic exercise for eight gruelling months. Afghanistan today is a vast prison where men, women and children are desperate to escape the tyranny of those moustache less bearded soldiers of fortune. Their brand of Islam means subjugation of women, exploitation of poppy cultivation and making money by exporting  psychotropic drugs. The Afghans are desperately knocking at our doors and seeking refuge here. But we have denied entry even to a woman Member of Parliament. We have cancelled all visas and virtually locked our gates to any Afghan migrants, unmindful of the tyranny of the Taliban on the Afghan people. This tyranny! That’s what they learnt from former Pakistan Martial Law Dictator General Mohammad Ziaul Haq and they know nothing beyond that. Naturally then whatever development Afghanistan has undergone in these last 20 years and that is not too little, will all be undone by these gun-totting, motorcycle riding mullas.

Not so long ago, Bhagwat had claimed that if the government would permit them, the RSS would defeat Pakistan within no time. Now is their time to prove it. But before that Mr Modi has to remember what he disclosed only recently that he sat on a dharna in July-August, 1971 to urge Mrs Gandhi to send our troops across our eastern borders and drive away the Pakistani forces. That was the instant when Mrs Gandhi was busy signing an Indo-Soviet friendship treaty with the erstwhile Soviet Union, which Modi’s senior leaders in the Jana Sangh suspected and resented—the treaty which gave us the confidence to move our battalions ignoring the explicit threat from US President Richard Nixon and implicit fear of Chinese intervention. But before that she went round the world beseeching Europe and America to intervene on behalf of the people of East Pakistan to restore them their  Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in Pakistani custody somewhere in Pakistani Punjab and honour the people’s mandate. She continued her diplomatic endeavour, while the Opposition right from Jai Prakash Narayan to the Jana Sangh and the mainstream media kept harassing and mocking her as powerless and gutless. Wonder whether Mr Modi would care to remember that. But it is worth remembering to learn from her forbearance, strategy and experience and how she succeeded in her effort.

Cut to our times, when we were welcoming “Doland” Trump as Mr Modi addressed him in Ahmedabad, the US was playing footsie with Imran Khan, working out a plan to withdraw from that country without any serious damage or casualties to US/NATO troops. For that they did a deal with Pakistan to hand over Afghanistan on their departure to these soldiers of fortune, the people, specially, women and children of Afghanistan be damned. Like we ignored the threat of Corona, till it hit us between our eyes, we not merely turned a blind eye to the US plans but even dispatched our External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to Doha not once but repeatedly to register our agreement with the deal US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad who many in Afghanistan call “Zalim Khabeeszad” which roughly translates into a cruel mean fellow . As for China, for all its support to Pakistan, the advent of Taliban regime will encourage Islamic jihadists in Uyghur and endanger Chinese security. Perhaps that is what the US may have in mind as a bonus when they readily handed over Afghanistan to these Pakistani mercenaries. Therefore for all its commitment to Pakistan, China can’t go whole hog and turn a blind eye to the expansionist designs of these neo Islamists. But we kept following faithfully the Americans even to our utter disadvantage. When we were getting oil cheap from Iran and were also offered a direct pipeline, when we were developing the Chabahar port, we dutifully obeyed Trump’s diktat and abandoned all our national interests. Today the only way to approach Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan is via Iran. But that needs some kind of commitment of friendship treaty with Iran and thus help the Afghan people liberate themselves with our support. It’s a test of Mr Modi’s imagination and enterprise and let’s see how he fares.

What was Indira’s ultimate strategy to secure Bangla Desh from the clutches of Pak army Junta? That’s the need of the hour in Afghanistan as well. Yes, we have to reassure the people of Afghanistan that we are with them and would come to their aid and defence in every which way. But before that we need to do a lot of diplomatic homework. Sure, we need to secure our western borders before that, but not by crushing the Kashmiris under the boot of the Indian armed forces, but by winning their confidence and taking them along in this struggle.

It is Modi’s moment. If he succeeds in chasing away the Talibani mullas from Afghanistan and restoring a modern democratic government in Afghanistan, all his past sins may be forgiven and he may long be remembered in history as a liberator. I wonder though if he and the RSS have it in them, given their past narrowmindedness.

Eom

Spare Indian Muslims, confront Taliban in Afghanistan

By

Faraz Ahmad

As in the past, the Phantom of Islamic terror has risen once again in time to aid the Modi-Yogi led Bhartiya Janata Party to win the crucial assembly elections of Uttar Pradesh, whose victory shall determine the success of the BJP in the 2024 general elections. This time it is the scary, bearded, visibly barbarian medieval Taliban who have “conquered” a long-time traditional friend of India—Afghanistan, to establish their “Shariah” rule in that hilly land locked western state.

Ever since the humiliating defeat in West Bengal assembly elections earlier this year by Mamata Banerjee led Trinamul Congress, the saffron brigade is licking its wounds and has not forgiven Mamata for her impunity to defeat simultaneously the combined might of two communally polarising colossal behemoths, comfortable in the general perception of being invincible. But that has not really helped and so the safest bet is, return to the time tested stratagem of raising the spectre of the “evil Muslaman” and so even though the elections are not due in Delhi, but because of its sheer proximity to the largest state in the country, it is witnessing a deliberate and conscious design of holding street corner demonstrations attacking tombs, letting loose lynching mobs. In the poll ready UP there is an attempt to capture the imagination of their bhakts by staking claim to the Gyanvapi mosque of Benares.

Meanwhile friends from UP are descending upon Jantar Mantar to publicly raise the threat of “Mulle (Muslims) kate jayenge ostensibly in the name of “Bharat Jodo’ (unite India) on the call of former BJP spokesman Ashwani Upadhyaya, a leading legal practitioner. Similarly in Kanpur BJP MLA Abhijeet Singh Sangha created tension in the midst of ten-day long Moharram mourning by threatening to bury alive all those who dare bring their Tazias for burial to mark the last day of Moharram mourning. This upfront involvement of BJP men is to send out a message to its constituency who’s leading the charge against that bearded gnome, the Musalman.

Even a survey conducted by a pro-Modi national English weekly has demonstrated a visible fall in Modi’s popularity graph since the Bengal elections. Presumably this might be the outcome of the insensitivity towards the patients dying of Covid second wave this summer or the stubborn refusal to heed the farmers’ demand to withdraw the anti-farmer laws or the multi-billion-dollar scam in the purchase of Rafale fighter planes from French company Dassault. The latest revelation of spying on Rahul Gandhi, judges of Supreme Court and related persons, former Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa and a host of anti-establishment journalists and activists through Israeli spyware Pegasus came in later and could not have influenced the subjects of this survey.

Modi’s Independence Day announcement to observe August 14, Pakistan Independence Day as “Horrors of Partition Day”, also seems to be one more bid to inflame the anti-Muslim hatred. And yet the saffron camp is not exuding the confidence of yore. Then came the capture of entire Afghanistan right into Kabul by the Pakistan-backed Taliban mercenary fortune seekers hankering after power and pelf, in a swift operation as the US forces went home handing over all their highly sophisticated state of the art armoury including fighter planes, helicopters, armoured vehicles and what not worth billions of dollars at the disposal of these barbaric marauders. In 1999 when the same set of Pakistani marauders captured Kabul, Pakistan had merely armed them with AK-47 and AK-56. But now these Pakistani proxies have the best equipment at their disposal as well as an open border into Pakistan for ready replenishment of all supplies.

Modi’s kept media—private TV channels and digital media, including sections of Hindi press are deliberately and consciously interpolating Indian Muslims with the Taliban, by inviting some apparent Muslim clerics to project that the Indian Muslims are celebrating the Taliban takeover of Kabul. No doubt it takes all kinds to make this world and Muslims are no exceptions, particularly those who subscribe to the conservative Wahabi creed of Islam. But they comprise only a microscopic section of Indian Muslim population.

The bulk of Afghan population loves India and is hostile to their next-door Eastern neighbour for I can’t recall since when. Certainly, before I was born, perhaps on account of how the Pakistanis ill-treated great Pathan nationalists led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, nee Frontier Gandhi who opposed the creation of Pakistan till the last day and even after its creation never reconciled to it. Or Baluch leaders like Ghaus Bux Bizenjo or the Marxist guerrilla fighter Sher Mohammad Marri who eventually died in Delhi in 1993 after the collapse of the Saur Revolution in Afghanistan or the former Baluchistan chief minister Atalullah Mengal and even today Ahmed Massoud the son of the Lion of Panjshir Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was killed deceitfully by the Talibanis in 2001 after they took over the country under their vile looking one-eyed leader Mullah Omar who kept his treasure close to his heart in a chest over which he would sleep at night. Unlike Pakistan, before the US succeeded in defeating Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Afghanistan was a modern state, even before Soviet intervention.

We advertise here Modi and his BJP’s great gesture of emancipating Muslim women by decreeing against triple Talaq when, the incident of triple talaq is rare. All Muslims acknowledge that triple talaq is awful. And it is restricted to only a small section of Muslim population. For instance, it is banned among various streams of Shia Muslims. But there are women in Afghanistan who had acquired some degree of independence and autonomy in these last 20 years which is severely threatened by the medieval anti-women Taliban determined to keep women subjugated as chattel. Our dear leader Modi’s help to free Muslim women from bondage of those barbarians, might actually prove how much he cares for the emancipation of Muslim women.

It’s a golden opportunity for our macho saffron Hindutva brigade flexing its muscles and lung power at the hapless unarmed poor old, infirm Indian Muslims to go to Afghanistan and rescue some women from the clutches of those brute Talibani mullas. They are prettier and fairer than Kashmiri women whom these fellows covet only for the colour of their skin. Go, fight there and demonstrate your valour and genuinely win their affection. I briefly heard a Godi media TV anchor tell his viewers how the only one vanquishing the Afghans was the Sikh king Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Fine, that was very long ago we have the wherewithal to take on and defeat the Taliban for all the covert support they receive from Pakistan. Besides, we have invested heavily in developing and creating Afghan infrastructure post the last extermination of Talibans. My younger cousin Abbas Muzaffar set up the Kabul TV there. We did a lot of work and we have no right or business to abandon all that and just flee the country. We have to stick it out and fight and defeat the Taliban. We have to prove we are a martial race and can chase out some medieval barbarians. We have a commitment to the people of Afghanistan, men, women and children young, old and inform, students and scholars, all. 

 But we see the Modi government getting weak in the knee in front of the Talibani marauders. In fact, our External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar attended in September, 2020 a virtual peace conference with the Taliban leaders hosted by Qatar at the prompting of the US special envoy Zalmy Khalilzad. Then on June 9 this year Jaishankar again went to Doha to indicate India’s willingness to “peace” negotiations with the Taliban. Did we have no idea, what it meant to hand over our friendly nation to the mercenaries of our enemy? We did. Even now someone as eminent as the former Army chief General Shankar Roy Chowdhry counsels that “”We need to understand that the victory in Afghanistan is being seen (by terror groups) as a Pakistani victory and an Indian defeat.”

The General stressing upon a more active Indian involvement to save and secure our long term strategic and security interests recalled that “During the period the Taliban rode to power in the mid-1990s, India steadfastly refused to do business with the regime which it saw as a brutal proxy for Pakistan’s military. It continued to support the remnants of the Afghan government and later the Northern Alliance, aiding them with training and supplies.

He also advised the Modi government to urgently sue for peace with the people of Kashmir to secure our western frontiers and then proceed to confront the Taliban in Afghanistan. His counsel is worth pondering seriously. But will Modi’s saffron brigade bite the bullet?

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Will Justice Chandrachud’s counsel deter the police from falsely implicating dissenters?

Will Justice Chandrachud’s counsel deter the police from falsely implicating dissenters?

By

Faraz Ahmad

On a day when respected social activists like Surendra Gadling and Sudhir Dhawale’s plea  seeking the intervention of Bombay High Court to release them from the vindictive tentacles of the National Investigations Agency (NIA) at the instance of the BJP led Central government, for their consistent political opposition to the BJP, was challenged by the NIA, virtually condemning them as terrorists,  the public assertion of Justice D Y Chandrachud, of the Supreme Court of India that “criminal law, including anti-terror legislation, should not be misused for quelling dissent or the harassment of citizens” gives dissenters some hope.

Addressing a virtual conference jointly organised by the American Bar Association, the Society of Indian Law Firms and chartered Institute of Arbitrators on July 11, Justice Chandrachud, one of the most respected judges of the apex court of India, stated that the Supreme Court “plays the role of a counter-majoritarian institution,” adding that it is the court’s “duty to protect the rights of the socio-economic minorities.”

He said that “criminal law, including anti-terror legislation, should not be misused for quelling dissent or for the harassment of citizens.” Isn’t it ironical coming on a day when social activists working dedicatedly for the disadvantaged sections of the Indian society, framed by the then BJP led Maharashtra government, have highlighted the political game the BJP government is playing to keep them in prison for over two years now, on what they termed cooked up charges and “planted evidence” and soon as the BJP government fell  in Maharashtra, the case was slyly transferred to the NIA to prevent the successor of the then chief minister Devendra Phadnavis from fairly and honestly reviewing the Bhima Koregaon case slapped against the social activists. It is an obvious instance of the misuse of anti-terror law by the Government to harass dissenters and protestors, which Justice Chandrachud might have had in mind but won’t cite this as an instance.

Instead, he chose to highlight a case which did not quite come in this category. The case of Arnab Goswami, whom he granted anticipatory bail for a case of being accessory to murder on a complaint from the family of the victim. Even when he granted anticipatory bail to Republic TV proprietor he knew  Arnab’s proximity to the ruling BJP. But after Republic TV financier Rajeev Chandrashekhar has been rewarded with a ministerial berth, Arnab falls in the category of promoter and not a dissenter of this government. Instead of this, if right honourable Justice Chandrachud had made some mention of how the Uttar Pradesh government of BJP led by its chief minister Yogi Adityanath has been keeping Siddiq Kappan in jail as some terrorist tied to the cot in the event he had to be treated in a hospital, or how this harassment prevented Kappan from attending the funeral of his dead mother or and similarly how the court delayed giving bail to Natasha till her father died, Justice Chandrachud’s statement could carry more weight and credibility. Nevertheless, one hopes that Justice Chandrachud’s following observation would act as a guiding principle for our courts in future:: “Our courts must ensure that they continue to remain the first line of defence against deprivation of liberty of citizens. Deprivation of liberty even for a single day is one too many. We must always be mindful of the deeper systemic implications of our decisions,”

Perhaps he could do some loud thinking here on how the same apex court questioned the Delhi High Court’s order dismissing the charges of sedition against the two Pinjra Tod girls Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal and also Asif Iqbal Tanha, all three brilliant students from JNU and Jamia. The Supreme Court did not overturn Delhi High Court order cancelling their bail, which the state had sought but admitted the need to review the Delhi High Court’s observation that the state had submitted no evidence to substantiate its charges under the draconian law, UAPA. Actually, the Delhi Police which delayed the release of the two young women and a man despite the Delhi High Court specifically directing it to release the three forthwith, rushed to the Supreme Court only to secure overturning of the High Court order by the Supreme Court. Justice Chandrachud’s senior retired Supreme court Justice Madan B Lokur stated, “The conduct of the police suggests that they were desperate to file an appeal in the Supreme Court before Devangana, Natasha and Asif were released. They did use every trick to stall the release and prepare an appeal overnight and get it ready for filing.” Obviously they were confident that the Supreme Court would serve their purpose and stay the release. How much one would have wished Justice Chandrachud referred to this and serve as an eye opener to his esteemed colleagues on the apex bench. 

Justice Chandrachud also mentioned the urgency to decongest prisons and the attempt by the Supreme Court in this direction in these words: “While it is important that prisons are decongested because they are highly susceptible to becoming hotspots for the virus, it is equally important to examine why prisons are congested in the first place. The criminal law, including the anti-terror legislation, should not be misused for quelling dissent or the harassment of citizens.” One wonders whether he remembered how 84-year-old Parkinson affected Father Stan Swamy working for the protection of tribals of Jharkhand, implicated falsely again by the NIA on that fraud and fictitious Bhima Koregaon case, kept pleading for bail but consistently denied even by the Bombay High Court and died in custody.

On the day Justice Chandrachud was telling the world about the role of the courts in India a special court in Mumbai had rejected the bail plea of the highly respected IIT professor Anand Teltumbde also imprisoned along with Sudha Bhardwaj, Gautam Navlakha and more than a dozen others in the infamous Bhima Koregaon case, where a BJP government of Maharashtra first and now the politically motivated biased investigating agency have targeted the victims while not even interrogating those reported to have instigated the violence on 2 January 2018, namely Sambhaji Bhide. Leave alone arresting Bhide, they enlarged on bail within no time his accomplice Milind Ekbote associated with the virulent Hindutva brigade, enjoying BJP patronage..

Senior Supreme Court advocate Chander Uday Singh has stated, “That the UAPA is grossly abused goes without saying. That it is invoked disproportionately against minorities, indigenous people, tribals and, increasingly those who stand up for them, is well known. Bail is hard to get once arrested under UAPA, which often prompts investigating agencies to slap on UPAPA charges after a political dissenter or protestor obtains bail under the regular criminal laws.”

Listing some half a dozen cases where members of the Muslim community have languished in jails for years, even decades only to be acquitted honourably because of unsubstantiated grave charges slapped on them, Singh has suggested the exertion of Law of Torts to demand appropriate and adequate compensation from prosecuting agencies for deliberately keeping them imprisoned maliciously on trumped up baseless charges. Perhaps if Justice Chandrachud had reflected on that it might have acted as some kind of a deterrent to the police and courts against charging political dissenters and protestors with false and fake cases.

Eom

The rise and fall of Ram Vilas Paswan

The rise and fall of Ram Vilas Paswan

By

Faraz Ahmad

I got to know Ram Vilas Paswan soon after V P Singh announced in the Lok Sabha the acceptance of Mandal Commission recommendations on 7 August, 1990, causing a huge uproar of noisy and often violent protests from across party lines and in particular the upper caste youth of North India, or shall we say the Cow land.

Before that even while covering the ruling Janata Dal then as a reporter for the weekly Sunday Mail, I was vaguely aware of Paswan as someone who won as a Janata Dal candidate in that anti-Rajiv Gandhi Bofors wave with the highest margin of votes and who on becoming a young Labour minister in V P Singh government shifted into 12, Janpath, next to the residence of the then Congress president and outgoing Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Outgoing Urban Development Minister Mohsina Kidwai had vacated this bungalow. Ram Vilas and family, so identified with 12, Janpath, that he did several political somersaults, to retain that strategically located prestigious house.

Maybe if Prime Minister Narendra Modi fulfills Paswan’s younger brother Pashupati  Paras’ desire to reward him by inducting him into the Union cabinet to fill up the vacancy created by Paswan’s death, for migrating to the NDA camp with other four MPs of Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), he too may be allotted 12 Janpath. Even then, Chirag and his mother Mrs Reena Paswan, might have to vacate the bungalow sooner than later and shift to some smaller accommodation on North or South Avenue. Under the Urban Development ministry rules Chirag is not yet entitled to a type VIII bungalow. And in Modi regime the privilege of enjoying the comfort of a Lutyens’ Type VIII bungalow comes for a price. If you’re of any use to Modi then even a minister of State like Kirren Rijiju gets to live in the bungalow occupied by former Defence Minister of India A K Antony. On the other hand, Ajit Singh was evicted out of his 14 Tughlak Road house occupied first by his father Chaudhry Charan Singh and then him presumably since 1977 when Charan Singh became the Home Minister in Morarji Desai government in 1977. But the BJP did not like Ajit Singh going over to the Congress after the 2009 elections and evicted him unceremoniously soon as they came to power.    

Mandal threw up two bright young and energetic leaders or shall we say three in the V P Singh government. Paswan, Sharad Yadav and also Nitish Kumar, all three first time ministers and that too directly in the Centre. Two of them Nitish and Sharad belonged to the Devi Lal camp of Janata Dal and Paswan too came from the socialist stock which had later merged into Chaudhary Charan Singh’s Lok Dal and still later into Chaudhary Devi Lal’s parallel Lok Dal. In effect all three Paswan, Sharad and Nitish and Lalu Prasad, heading the Bihar government as its chief minister were a product of Jai Prakash Narayan’s Sampurna Kranti movement and left a lasting imprint on our impressionable minds then as ideal revolutionary politicians.

Almost immediately after V P Singh announced acceptance of the Mandal Commission report, awarding 27 per cent reservation in Central All India services to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Devi Lal held a rally in which for the first time Kanshi Ram appeared on his platform and Devi Lal rejected Mandal for excluding Jats from it. Kanshi Ram the great messiah of Dalits and all deprived sections of the population stood with Devi Lal to effectively oppose the Mandal Commission. It must have been on or around 23 September, 1990 the anniversary of the signing of Poona Pact by Dr B R Ambedkar when Paswan and Sharad held a counter rally of the Dalits and OBCs at the Boat Club lawns and the response was phenomenal. Paswan thence emerged as a champion of the Dalits and backwards and became a household name in Delhi and national media.

That government did not last long and fell on 10 November, 1990 leading to a brief interregnum of Rajiv Gandhi supported Chandra Shekhar government for four months and then the mid-term elections of May, 1991 wherein Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, completely changing the course of Indian history. In the immediate aftermath of the polls in which the Congress led by P V Narasimha Rao returned to power, Ram Vilas Paswan emerged as the most trusted lieutenant of V P Singh because neither Sharad nor Nitish Kumar could return immediately to the 10th Lok Sabha. And a militant Paswan was active and agile to take on the BJP’s saffron clad Sadhu, Sadhvi brigade occupying the Lok Sabha benches, on each Hindutva issue, endearing himself to people like me sitting in the Press gallery listening to Paswan’s counter attacks against the noisy BJP members.

Janata Dal parliamentary party office in room number 4, Parliament House became our second home, chatting up Paswan. Sharad and Nitish returned to the Lower House after a couple of months in by elections from Bihar because their elections had been countermanded by politically hostile pro-active Election Commissioner. Till then there was only one man at the top in Nirvachan Sadan and that was T N Seshan.

Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar too became our (meaning me and Smita Gupta the then Bureau chief of The Independent) friends and sources for daily stories. Initially though we found Sharad a little distant. Perhaps because in the runup to the 9th Lok Sabha there were news reports in a section of the media alluding some sex scandal involving his Feroze Shah Road residence. Since then, Sharad would be wary and suspicious of women journalists till he had ascertained that they had not been set up to trap him.

In 1993 V P Singh quit his position as Leader of the Janata Dal parliamentary party and went on a nationwide travel to spread awareness about the need for reservation for the OBCs. Before resigning he sought to make Ram Vilas the leader of Janata Dal parliamentary party. But Sharad, Nitish and at their instance Lalu sitting in Patna together resisted the move and Paswan could not inherit V P Singh’s mantle. By 1994-5, Nitish with George, Hari Kishore Singh, Syed Shahabuddin, Chandrajit Yadav and others left the Janata Dal to float the Samata Party. Still in 1996 an anti-BJP front named the United Front formed the government with the then Karnataka chief minister and a JD leader, H D Deve Gowda as the Prime Minister. But since Deve Gowda was then not a member of either of the two Houses of Parliament and later returned to Parliament as a Rajya Sabha member Paswan became the Leader of the House . Also, he bagged the prized Railways portfolio.

In the 1994 Bihar assembly elections despite Seshan’s Brahmanical animus against Lalu that resulted in the elections carrying on for six months and Lalu ceasing to be even caretaker chief minister in the interregnum, in the end he still won overwhelmingly. His political competitors even within the Janata Dal now became even more envious of Lalu emerging as an invincible leader of Mandal forces and started conspiring to displace him. Lalu’s biggest enemy the BJP started besieging him soon after, with trumped up charges against him on the fraudulent fodder scam. Even as a Janata Dal led United Front government was ruling at the Centre, the CBI was let loose on Lalu to forcibly eject him from the chief minister’s chair. It is said that Deve Gowda guided by Paswan gave a free hand to the then CBI Director Joginder Singh who later exposed his saffron proclivity when the RSS invited him to address its most important annual event the Vijay Dashmi Divas celebrations at Resham Bagh, Nagpur. Janata Dal circles were agog with the gossip that Joginder Singh was chosen to head the CBI at the instance of Paswan who nursed the secret desire to rule Bihar by displacing Lalu as its chief minister.

Both Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan couldn’t stomach Lalu’s rise whom they perceived as a non-serious “joker” towering above them politically like a colossal by his deft handling of post Mandal situation. While Nitish having walked out of Janata Dal with George Fernandes and other anti-Mandal MPs to form the Samata Party, collaborating with the BJP and his dear friend and trusted ally Sushil Modi, to challenge Lalu’s supremacy, had to struggle for nearly 15 years before he and his dear saffron friends could finally vanquish Lalu, Paswan acted surreptitiously. Meanwhile after Deve Gowda became the Prime Minister an element of distrust developed between the Prime Minister and  the then Congress president Sitaram Kesri, also from Bihar and an ally of Lalu Prasad because even though Rao had soon been replaced as Congress president, Gowda pursued Rao’s agenda to fix Kesri. Paswan used this opportunity to fix Lalu. Paswan had the knack of winning the trust and confidence of each Prime Minister he worked with and so had the best the equation with Deve Gowda. That’s why he, fully knowing Joginder Singh’s proximity to the Sangh, colluded with the BJP, to appoint Singh as the CBI Director. with whom Deve Gowda too was acquainted when Joginder was posted in Karnataka at one stage.

But while Kesri withdrew Congress support to Deve Gowda, he also offered to continue his party’s support to UF government provided they replaced Deve Gowda with another leader acceptable to him. Thereafter a meeting of the United Front coordination committee comprising of all the parties was held at Andhra Bhawan hosted by the then Andhra chief minister and Telugu Desam leader Nara Chandrababu Naidu. The night before the announcement of the decision to elect Inder Kumar Gujral to replace Deve Gowda, I with Ajaz Ashraf went to see Paswan at his bungalow and Paswan appeared exuberant. Why? Because he was seriously hoping that he could emerge as the consensus candidate and be sworn in as the next Prime Minister of India. He didn’t much care how long this government would last for he quoted former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar how becoming Prime Minister even for a day would entail such huge lifetime perks of type VIII bungalow in Lutyens’ zone, a SPG cover for all the family members and all the accompanied paraphernalia.

However once Gujral became the Prime Minister it took him no time to endear himself to Gujral as well. Incidentally Abdul Khaliq who has remained loyal to Chirag Paswan when all other LJP MPs deserted him, was Paswan’s discovery from Rail Bhawan where he was the OSD to Paswan as Railway minister. The United Front was a real khichdi Sarkar from the beginning comprising of disparate forces like the DMK and Tamil Manila Congress from Tamill Nadu  led by G K Moopanar, who, along with P Chidambaram, had broken away from the Congress to spite Narasimha Rao. V P Singh was widely perceived as the leader of this Front but there were any number in and outside the Front, including Narasimha Rao who won’t brook a second term for V P Singh as the Prime Minister. Karunanidhi’s insistent choice was V P Singh. V P Singh’s choice to lead this front was Jyoti Basu and while Basu and the then General secretary of the CPI (M) Harkishan Singh Surjeet were agreeable to the proposal and most other constituents of the UF too seemed willing, the CPM central committee led chiefly by E M S Namboodripad put its foot down and rejected outright the proposal to make Jyoti Basu the PM. Both Lalu and Mulayam were in this Front and both had good number of MPs in their kitty, But in those days there was tremendous rivalry between the two Yadav leaders. Lalu had more than double number of MPs in the 11th Lok Sabha than Mulayam and would not brook Mulayam as the PM. With Fodder scam sword hanging over his head, Lalu was automatically out of the race.  In the first round, Deve Gowda became the consensus candidate, also because for the first time 14 MPs had been elected from Karnataka under Deve Gowda who just two years back had become the state chief minister. But with Gowda out, the UF again faced a leadership crisis and with Karunanidhi opposed to Moopanar, the final choice fell on Gujral. Gujral made no change to the composition of Deve Gowda’s cabinet which had for the first time two CPI stalwarts Chaturanan Mishra and the legendary CPI general secretary Indrajit Gupta as the country’s Home Minister, who continued to reside in one room of Western Court which he had occupied for decades as a member of Parliament.

Paswan’s dexterity lay in the fact that he managed to get close to Gujral too within no time. Meanwhile the CBI was closing in on Lalu Yadav who was also then the Janata Dal president and Bihar chief minister. He had made his best friend and confidant Sharad Yadav the Working president of the party to look after day to day affairs in Delhi, since he was preoccupied with Patna. Seshan as the Election Commissioner put the Janata Dal on notice setting a deadline for holding party elections, otherwise to derecognise the ruling party. At this point Sharad who was licking his wounds for not becoming a UF minister because of the Hawala case still pending against him, was holding tight to this presidential position, while Lalu realising that the CBI was closing in on him and he might have to relinquish the chief minister’s post pleaded with Sharad and the party to let him continue as the JD president but Sharad would have none of it and now Deve Gowda, Paswan and other Lalu baiters in the Janata Dal came together to fell Lalu. The night before that crucial meeting Lalu went to Paswan’s house and was there for a couple of hours. Paswan sneaked out of the backdoor to avoid meeting and committing anything to Lalu. Finally a dejected Lalu left after midnight, Paswan told some of us the next day when Lalu announced splitting the Janata Dal and forming his Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), taking away 16 of the 20 Janata Dal MPs from Bihar.

Immediately after that Lalu was made to quit Bihar CM’s post and arrested by a vengeful and dubious CBI officer named U N Biswas. Soon thereafter the Gujral government too did not last long. Mid-term elections were held in 1998 bringing to power Atal Bihari Vajpayee led NDA government with the BJP at the helm. In Bihar while Lalu released on bail, led his RJD to a resounding victory winning another 20 seats, this time against his erstwhile party, the rump Janata Dal which was wiped out in Bihar. Sharad Yadav lost to Lalu in Madhepura. Ram Vilas Paswan was the lone winner from the rump Janata Dal. Even in Karnataka Deve Gowda and only two others returned on Janata Dal ticket. But this first NDA government too did not last long with AIADMK leader and Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa withdrawing support because the Central government failed to scuttle in time all the corruption cases slapped on her by Subramaniam Swamy, who by then had joined Jayalalithaa and became her trusted political adviser.

By 1999 when the NDA returned to power riding on the nationwide Kargil wave, Lalu’s party was wiped out in Bihar and now all three Paswan, Sharad and Nitish were back as colleagues in this government which almost completed its full term in 2004. Paswan of course quit the NDA and resigned his ministership a little earlier citing the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat under the chief ministership of Narendra Modi. Privately he admitted to my friend G Chandra Sekar then of UNI, his disenchantment with the Vajpayee government for depriving him of the high-profile Communications portfolio and relegating him to the inconsequential Mining ministry. Incidentally though Sharad too was unhappy with the Civil Aviation portfolio being taken away, he stuck on. As for Nitish, he was always the apple of BJP eye and thus aided Modi’s endeavour to vitiate the Sabarmati Express burning report by sitting on the passenger list of the hapless S-6 sleeper coach which became Modi’s alibi for the Gujarat massacre.

  • One remarkable thing about these socialist politicians is they change their friends in the media along with their professed ideology. So, when Nitish Kumar walked out of NDA in 2013 protesting BJP’s decision to field Modi as the PM candidate, he called me, Zafar Agha, Seema Mustafa and such “secular” journalists to non-vegetarian lunch to brandish his secular credentials. Similarly, Paswan who had forgotten all his old-time friends suddenly started calling me, Chandra Sekhar, Smita Gupta and such others for his press conferences. By the year 2000 Paswan had broken away from JD-U and formed his own Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) which aligned with the Congress and Lalu’s RJD to contest the 2004 elections wherein the RJD won 24 seats while LJP secured four including Paswan’s own from Hajipur and brother Ramchandra Paswan from Rosera because of joining a secular RJD led alliance. But when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave the Railway portfolio to Lalu Prasad, who proved his competence by making the Railways profitable for the first and last time since independence, Paswan was most upset and annoyed. Never mind the fact that he managed to return to the 14th Lok Sabha with three more MPs only because of aligning with Lalu Prasad. But when Lalu returned with 24 MPs and naturally he was therefore a big force in the 14th Lok Sabha an envious Paswan could not stomach Lalu being given more importance than him. Not that he was badly off. The Prime Minister gave him two important ministries, Steel and Chemicals and Fertilisers.
  • So, in 2005 Bihar Assembly elections he sabotaged the RJD prospect of forming a government by refusing to align with “a fodder scam tainted” corrupt and discredited Lalu Prasad, forgetting that barely a year back he had bounced back into Bihar politics only thanks to Lalu. In the process, he paved the way for the rise and final crowning of Nitish Kumar, his traditional enemy as the Bihar chief minister which post Nitish holds till date.
  • In spite of Sonia Gandhi fully supporting Lalu Prasad, the Brahmanical Congress party in Bihar has all along been averse to Lalu and but for Sonia’s pressure they would have preferred Nitish or Paswan to Lalu any day and as the elections to the 15th Lok Sabha approached in 2009, the Congress jacked up its demand so high, much beyond its ability to win, that it became impossible for Lalu to accommodate the Congress party. Instead Lalu, ignoring the past slight, offered a large number of seats to Paswan’s LJP. Eventually the anti BJP forces were decimated. RJD, including Lalu himself won only four seats, Congress only one the Kishanganj seat and Paswan himself lost to Ram Sunder Dass of JD-U. For nearly a year Ram Vilas Paswan was not a member of any House of Parliament and consequently he might have had to vacate his 12 Janpath bungalow. Then again Lalu came to his rescue and sent him upto Rajya Sabha with the support of RJD MLAs in 2010.

By the time the 2014 elections under the leadership of Narendra Modi came, Lalu Prasad had been disqualified as a member of Parliament convicted of fodder scam. He had not yet gone to jail. But on the other hand, Paswan’s immediate concern was to see his son Chirag Paswan, a failed Bollywood actor, settle in politics. The then BJP president and Modi’s trouble shooter Amit Shah was out wooing all and sundry to hop on to the Modi bandwagon which Paswan readily did. Some said then that it was at the instance of his son Chirag who counselled that with Lalu convicted RJD was a sinking ship and thus to tie up with Modi instead and so Paswan betrayed Lalu once more when Lalu most needed his support. Of course, he got a good deal in return with him, his son, Chirag, brother Ramchandra Paswan and three others all entering the Lok Sabha on LJP ticket.

By 2019 Paswan was not in good health and therefore preferred not to contest the Lok Sabha polls and so Modi sent him to the Rajya Sabha and also made him a minister. In his second term as PM. But by 2020 with Bihar elections approaching Chirag became a bit too ambitious. Paswan was alive though he was not active anymore and therefore it can be easily assumed that Chirag broke away from the JD-U led NDA in Bihar assembly polls under the guidance of father Ram Vilas. He came a cropper and could secure the victory of only one MLA who too crossed over to JD-U. It was said in political circles then that Chirag had the tacit support of the Bihar BJP leadership which wanted to become the leading party in the NDA and thus stake claim to the chief minister’s post. Paswan died in the midst of the Bihar assembly election campaign. And eventually BJP did better than the JD-U, but of course the RJD won maximum number of seats and even its alliance partners in the Left did pretty well.

However, Modi was miffed with Chirag for having scuttled his endeavour to defeat the RJD decisively. Modi hoped Chirag would realise his limitations that he is no Ram Vilas. But Chirag on the other hand was hoping that with the BJP having supported him all along he would enjoy the same pre-eminence that his father did. But Modi is an impatient man and brooks no nonsense and so after a while the LJP MPs led by Chirag’s uncle Pashupati Paras and cousin Prince Raj  have made their peace with Modi and Nitish and Paras is working at getting the ministerial berth vacant on Paswan’s death. Chirag has hinted, and it seems he has not much of a choice but to realign with the RJD, and Lalu being a magnanimous leader is likely to take Chirag under his wings too.

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How long would we continue punishing mere accessories to Rajiv’s murder?

How long would we continue punishing mere accessories to Rajiv’s murder?

By

Faraz Ahmad

Thirty years ago former Prime Minister and the then Congress president Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Sri Lankan woman carrying explosives under her Salwar Kameez dress at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu around 10.30 pm.

The recently elected chief minister of Tamil Nadu, M K Stalin, leading the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam (DMK) has written to the President of India Ramnath Kovind demanding immediate release of seven persons incarcerat4ed for last thirty years for Rajiv’s assassination, namely S Nalini, Murugan, Santhan, A G Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and P Ravichandran convicted for their involvement in the said assassination. Political parties and opinions are sharply divided and polarised in Tamil Nadu along adversarial lines with no agreement on almost any major current issue, be they allies of the Congress party led by Rajiv’s widow Sonia Gandhi or now to the ruling BJP at the Centre. But the one issue on which all of them are united and agreed upon, is their desire to see the release of these seven hapless individuals, who had a peripheral role, if at all, in the assassination of the former Prime Minister, even going by the charges levelled by the CBI in its charge-sheet.

I support this demand too I am convinced after thorough study that the entire planning and execution to kill Rajiv was restricted to Sivarasan and his two women accomplices. First the woman who bombed herself to kill Rajiv, whom we call Dhanu for convenience sake and the other, her companion  Subha, also no one knows her real name or identity and of course those who gave the contract to Sivarasan. Meanwhile Dr Subramaniam Swamy, who also happens to hail from  Tamil Nadu, has opposed this appeal. But Dr Swamy being a proud Brahmin has always been at loggerheads with Dravidian forces in Tamil Nadu. Moreover, there are those, once close to Dr Swamy, who have questioned his role in the conspiracy. To acquit himself of the charge Dr Swamy wrote a book not providing any evidence to disprove the charge. Instead, he hurled charges at others.

I believe that those who ought to have been probed and punished for their involvement overt or covert in enabling killer ‘Dhanu’ reach upto Rajiv to kill him (to date we have no evidence to establish her real identity) have been happily let off without so much as being questioned. A few whom the CBI, investigating  that heinous crime, wilfully and deliberately overlooked were former Congress leader Margatham Chandrasekhar contesting Lok Sabha elections as the Congress candidate from that constituency; Margatham’s daughter Lata Priyakumar, who was also contesting the assembly elections from one of the assembly segments of this Lok Sabha constituency; R K Raghavan, the then I G of Tamil Nadu Police who turned his back and walked away, (by his own admission in his affidavit submitted to the J S Verma Commission) and who also tampered with crucial photographic evidence; or N K Singh, the then Joint Secretary (Police) in the Union Home ministry who was responsible for denying adequate security to Rajiv, even when Rajiv faced Z category threats, assessed by the Home ministry. Rajiv was accompanied by a single unarmed Delhi Police Inspector Mr Pradeep Kumar Gupta for proximate security who died with the Congress president. Instead of being questioned and penalised both Raghavan and Singh in fact have enjoyed plum postings and positions in the Indian establishment, whoever may have ruled in Delhi even to date nearly two decades after retirement from government service.

That is because the official narrative about the conspiracy theory behind Rajiv’s assassination has remained unchanged, though without any credible evidence. The Verma Commission of inquiry appointed by the then Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar with a brief to ascertain security lapses if any, causing Rajiv’s death, turned a blind eye to so many, in your face, security lapses which enabled the assassinators succeed in their mission, evidently for no other reason but to save Chandra Shekhar and his four-month long government. In the process, Justice Verma, considered as one of the most upright judges, virtually acquitted N K Singh, R K Raghavan and others responsible for wilful negligence in providing fool proof security to Rajiv, despite repeated reminders to the Government by P Chidambaram, a Minister of State for Home in Rajiv’s council of ministers, expressing fear of a terror attack on Rajiv.

The Jain Commission to probe the conspiracy angle remained mired in controversies with court cases filed to put spokes in its progress and thus obstructing its assigned task. In 1998-99 under the premiership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Parliament took up the Jain Commission report together with the Action Taken Report (ATR) of the government. The government then set up a CBI-led Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) to probe further the charges levelled by the Jain Commission implicating several top men including the then well-known godman Chandraswamy with proximity to successive prime ministers, ministers and bureaucrats. The MDMA exists to date at the expense of Indian tax payer but has not filed a single word of report, citing some vague stay order by some sessions level court for over two decades. We neither know nor are allowed to ask what work if any they have done in all these 21 years. It implies that even 30 years after Rajiv’s death there must be enough explosive material pointing fingers not at LTTE but those within the country whom even this right wing establishment seeks to protect. Who could these be? It also needs some explanation how come Nandu Singh and Raghava Raghavan are the apple of successive regimes. It surely is not competence, proven by their intentional or unintentional involvement in Rajiv Gandhi assassination. Then what is it that endears them to successive regimes?

What are the compulsions and whose interests were served that the two officers whose wilful negligence in this case has not only gone unpunished but even rewarded, with both enjoying eminence to this day? The only logical reason appears to be that once the truth comes out (which may never happen) the entire thesis of LTTE involvement in Rajiv Gandhi assassination might have to be debunked and those who keep harping on LTTE role may have to face the music, while the needle of suspicion may point closer home. The establishment may be unwilling to admit that but frankly speaking the official narrative of LTTE killing Rajiv is so bogus and fallacious that any right-thinking person would dismiss it out of hand (Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: An Inside Job?)

The entire premise was built on the thesis, extended by the CBI then that Rajiv led Congress was thunderously rushing to power in the 1991 general elections and LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, fearing that Rajiv on return would send back the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to Sri Lanka to liquidate the LTTE and Prabhakaran, conspired to get him killed. This is in fact the version of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), as against that of Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), as the then Law and Justice Minister Dr Subramaniam Swamy admitted in his book on Rajiv Gandhi assassination. that while in the first cabinet meeting held early morning on May 22, he promptly announced that LTTE was behind Rajiv’s assassination, the R&AW chief immediately disputed this and ruled out LTTE involvement.

That apart, returning to the reasoning extended by the CBI and accepted by successive courts as well as the mainstream media, was that LTTE chief Prabhkaran was terrified of the prospect of Rajiv Gandhi returning to power and sending back the IPKF to liquidate him. So, in his desperation to rule out such a possibility, he hatched this conspiracy and assigned the task to a trusted lieutenant Sivarasan. Any one having even a rudimentary understanding of international affairs knows that Sri Lanka is a sovereign nation and India could never send its troops to Sri Lanka, except at the invitation of Sri Lanka, Rajiv Gandhi or no Rajiv Gandhi. In 1987 the then Sri Lankan president J Jayawardene had urged Rajiv to send his troops to cool down the rising temperature of the LTTE. And Rajiv himself was forced by Jayawardene’s successor Premadasa to withdraw the Indian troops, even before he went out of power in 1990.

So even if Rajiv wanted, he could never send his troops to Sri Lanka and Prabhakran being aware of all these nuances knew this too well to fear or imagine the return of Indian troops to Sri Lanka. So that argument holds no water. Second, the LTTE enjoyed a comfortable relationship with the DMK government in Tamil Nadu and therefore it doesn’t require some genius to imagine that the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi would create such hostility against Prabhakaran and the LTTE as to shut the doors of this sanctuary for Prabhakaran and his men forever. That’s exactly what happened eventually. The CBI stated that Sivarasan had with him a video recorder and would listen to TV news every day and despatch these videos to Prabhakaran in Jaffna regularly. While we have no evidence that this was actually happening, but assuming this was, it means that Prabhakaran was keeping a keen eye on political developments in India during the 1991 mid term general elections. Even without this he must be keeping a watch. It would have been in his interest to ensure the return of DMK-V P Singh to power.in Delhi. So, he would have had a stake in the return of V P Singh government. Why would he want to jeopardise the prospect of DMK/V P Singh returning to power, which did happen finally, consequent upon Rajiv’s assassination? Any body with a little understanding of Indian politics and Tamil Nadu would have estimated that killing Rajiv would have the reverse effect which it did. In that election while V P Singh’s Janata Dal-National Front was badly mauled post Rajiv assassination, DMK was wiped out in Tamil Nadu which was going for both Lok Sabha and state assembly polls. Prabhakaran had lived off and on in Tamil Nadu so often and interacted so frequently with Tamil Nadu leaders and journalists that there is no way he did not understand the adverse consequences of killing Rajiv in Tamil Nadu of all the places.      

I have worked as a crime reporter in three major cities of the country in the Indian Express, Mumbai (then Bombay), Chandigarh during the height of Punjab militancy and Delhi. I earned some degree of respect from the police officers in all three cities, for only one reason. I never accepted the police version on its face value and always tended to probe the story behind it, rarely with any success though. In the process I did lose in getting exclusives or shall we say police plants which take the reporters to great heights and earn the endearments of the editors. The police version is that Sivarasan was despatched by Prabhakaran to execute the assassination and for that he was given a free hand to plan and organise the entire act. Sure, enough Sivarasan had joined the LTTE. But when and what was his background? That’s when the version of the police needed to be questioned which none of our great editors cared to do. Sivarasan was originally from TELO, even his father was a supporter of the TELO. In fact, the people of his town were largely averse to the LTTE for several reasons not necessary to mention here, but which is there on record. The LTTE and TELO were competing forces in which the LTTE wiped out TELO. Only after that Sivarasan joined the LTTE or perhaps made a show of joining it while working on the sly for others. One thing is on record, that he was an employee of the Sri Lanka electricity department and thus also had government connections. Premadasa was then the Sri Lankan president and while he did come together with Prabhakran to oust IPKF from Sri Lanka he was no less inimical to Rajiv than Prabhakran. Besides if Rajiv was assassinated by Tamil militants, perceived to be LTTE it would be killing two birds with one stroke, which did happen eventually. No one cared to follow that lead even though it was so obvious.

Third, Sivarasan came by boat to Chennai along with a couple of LTTE men in June, 1990 and killed the entire Politburo of EPRLF including their leader Padmanabha living secretly in Chennai. After killing them in indiscriminate firing, the four men hijacked a Maruti van and drove to the coast some 60 kilometres away hid till late night. Then took their motor boat and sailed back to Jaffna. But after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination from where the coast was a mere walking distance and the police was too stunned to notice any escape, they could easily take the boat back to Jaffna. They didn’t do that. They went back to Chennai, taking a lift in an auto and after reaching their temporary quarters, slept peacefully. The next day too they did not stir. Then the third day when the newspapers carried Dhanu’s photo they decided to move out and still they made no attempt to sail back to Jaffna by sea. They went to Tirupati even though the LTTE was an atheist organisation and Prabhakaran did not approve of his men breaking party discipline, consuming alcohol, womanising etc.

Eventually instead of trying to sail away from Chennai/Tamil Nadu long coast back to Jaffna Sivarasan was moving in the direction of Delhi. One of his men had come and even rented a house in South Delhi’s Moti Bagh area. In this effort Sivarasan succeeded reaching Bangalore undetected when one of his confidants betrayed him and reported to the police. Logically then it means from day one Sivarasan was avoiding going back to the safe haven of Jaffna which remained out of bound for the Indian security forces till the LTTE was liquidated and Prabhakran was killed by Sri Lankan forces. Why? On the other hand, he was trying to reach Delhi?

The MDMA and the CBI have not disclosed to date what, if at all they discovered anything  in all these years. But till Chandraswamy died a couple of years back they kept his passport and won’t allow him to travel abroad pleading before the court that he was being probed for involvement in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.  Despite that Chandraswamy was not arrested or jailed even for a  day.

On the other hand, these seven men and women who had, if at all, a very tertiary role. For instance the charge against one of them was he bought a 9 volt battery cell on Sivarasan’s orders. Nalini for instance did not know till the date of the assassination that they were planning to go and kill Rajiv Gandhi. Nor did poor Haribabu, the photographer who died on the spot, had he known of the actual conspiracy, might have maintained a safe distance from Rajiv like R K Raghavan and Margatham Chandrasekhar and her son and daughter did, though they were the main organisers and the daughter was also contesting the assembly seat.

None of this is unknown. Yet the great stalwarts of journalism, many of whom have personally interacted with Prabhakran, though much before that assassination, are willing to question the IB plant.

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Has the PM woken up to deaths and pestilence?

Has the PM woken up to deaths and pestilence?

By

Faraz Ahmad

Evidence emerged on camera of half burnt pyres and graves spread all along the Ganga bank in Allahabad/Prayagraj for as far as the naked eye could see, and in fact in each district of UP from where Ganga passes,  just two days after the Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath held a special meet with a select group of Delhi journalists to buttress the point that all is fine in UP and the reports of death and pestilence striking almost the entire state were merely an attempt to malign his government. He, of course, made it a point to invite only reporters loyal to him and pointedly kept out the Dainik Bhaskar whose team of reporters panned the entire length of Ganga throughout UP.

More than two score Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) professors, teachers and retired staff have so far died of Covid and of course, the university has not reported about students if any who might have died of this deadly disease.

AMU is a residential university and the campus is spread over 1155 acres of verdant land with not just a majority of students but most teachers, professors and even Minto Circle High School and its teachers all living on the campus. The teaching community in AMU is like an extended family whose social interactions are also mostly restricted within the campus and therefore anything happens to any teacher, within no time the word spreads and others come rushing in.

The Aligarh exhibition, called Numaish, (the Urdu/Hindi/Hindustani word for exhibition) is an annual feature held almost on the outskirts of the town, not very far from the campus. Visiting the Numaish, where, someone from Delhi might not find much to see, every evening is like a ritual to every Aligarian– the AMU teachers, students and non teaching staff, for that is the only time they freely inter mingle with the Aligarh city residents who too visit the exhibition with equal enthusiasm. The Numaish arrives in town around the Republic Day in the peak of winter and is held for around ten days or a fortnight.

 All this is worth mentioning because friends from AMU disclosed that the sudden spurt in Covid cases took place soon after the Numaish. Since the university is still not fully reopened after the first wave of Covid and most students have not returned, the hostel occupation is generally low, except for a handful of research scholars or those in the Medical College including the resident doctors. Perhaps that is why many more cases are being reported from the doctor community of AMU. As for the Aligarh city dwellers, how many of them might have been affected or succumbed to this disease is difficult to state with the Yogi government bent upon suppressing the real data and instead warning hospitals, doctors and even crematoria to face severe consequences for disclosing any thing without the permission of the district administration, never mind if dead bodies are seen floating and flowing down the Ganges for lack of firewood or lack of resources with the next of kin to respectfully bid adieu to their dead. This from a saffron clad chief minister claiming to be the protector of Hindu honour and pride.

Aligarh Numaish is actually an Agro-industrial fair travelling around the year in several districts of the state on different fixed months and dates. For instance, when it is held in Meerut it is called Nauchandi and it is also held in Bulandshahr, immediately before or after Aligarh. It also goes to Kanpur and Allahabad. It’s very old. All I know, I heard my father talking about visiting it as a child and in his youth in Allahabad. That means it must have been established during the British period. So, this exhibition is travelling throughout UP and is providing the residents of that area the opportunity for assembling and enjoying close contact, forgetting about any social distancing. This means that the Kumbh mela or the panchayat elections alone are not responsible for the wild spread of corona in Uttar Pradesh. Unmindful of the consequences of creating an environment for assembly and social interaction, the fiefdom of Ajay Bisht aka Yogi Adityanath has been carrying on in a cavalier fashion. The point is that even after the Kumbh mela fiasco the UP government made no effort to at least ban all such fairs. UP teachers’ association claimed that among the teachers who were put on panchayat elections duty held in late April, 1621 died of Covid complications. The state government however vehemently denied that.

Pick up any state from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh, to UP, to Bihar, each state is under reporting Covid deaths to cover up their failures in providing hospital beds, oxygen, life-saving drugs and eventually cremation facilities of those dying due the state negligence. The Central government meanwhile is busy promoting one more “magic potion” of another of its favourite saffron clad business man Ramdev and his Patanjali products. First the health minister himself promoted Ramdev’s ‘Coronil’ claiming that it had been approved by the WHO. Once that claim proved wrong, causing a big loss of face to the Government, on May 17 the Central government launched 2-DG another drug of Ramdev’s Patanjali claiming magical therapeutic qualities for Covid patients, while the medical community is protesting only under its breath, lest they are identified by the Sanghi Gestapo. This 2-DG, according to the official version has been developed by Patanjali Ayurved in collaboration with the Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. What has the DRDO got to do with such activity is anybody’s guess.

In the wake of such adverse national and international publicity, despite keeping a tight leash on the mainstream embedded media, the Prime Minister finally woke up and in the name of Tauktae cyclone announced a relief package of Rs 1000 crore for those affected by the cyclone in Gujarat. But is this announcement a reflection of the Prime Minister’s concern for the death and destruction caused first by Covid and then by Tauktae? According to an extensive survey conducted by Divya Bhaskar in Gujarat 1.23 lakh death certificates were issued in Gujarat between March 1 and May 10 while the state government, evidently suppressing the numbers merely claimed the death of 4218 persons of Covid. Gujarat’s celebrated poet Parul Khakkar once highly regarded by the right-wing Modi bhakts, wrote a scathing poem ‘Shav Vahini Ganga’ wherein she talked of the naked King and mentioned the notorious legendry Ranga Billa duo. It is anybody’s guess who the allusion is to. Perhaps the Prime Minister feared the carpet under his feet moving which made him turn his attention to his home state first and offer a succour.

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Could Modi really be concerned about East Pakistani refugees in 1971?

Could Modi really be concerned about East Pakistani refugees in 1971?

By

Faraz Ahmad

Prime Minister Narendra Modi went all the way to Bangladesh to make an unverifiable claim of his compassion and empathy for the refugees from the then East Pakistan, subjected to inhuman atrocities by the Punjabi West Pakistani troops on 25 March 1971, after the arrest of the founder of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, the night before on March 24.

While it is very nearly impossible to confirm or deny Modi’s claims, one in a line of many he makes from time to time, since Narendra a RSS shakha attending swayam sevak from a small town Vadnagar in Gujarat was unknown even in the Jana  Sangh circles in Delhi where he professedly sat on a dharna along with other Jana Sangh leaders to express his concern for the plight of refugees from East Pakistan, but in effect to scuttle Indira Gandhi’s long term plan and strategy to liberate and create Bangladesh, his claims for the refugees from across the border is equally hollow and unconvincing, going by the way he and his government is acting towards the refugees of atrocities by military junta of Myanmar on its people agitating against the suspension of all democratic activities and rights and the unwarranted arrest of the popular democrat leader Aung San Suu Kyi. One thing though as an aside. Modi claimed he was 21 or 22 in March 1971 and presumably he is September born. But if we go by his officially announced date of birth, September, 1950 then he was only 20 years old. But he says he was 21 or 22 years, which means he must have been born in 1949 or 1948 only then he could be 21 or 22 years old in March 1971.

Significantly these current refugees from Myanmar are not even Rohingya Muslims, who, according to Modi-Amit Shah’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), deserve no compassion or human consideration because they happen to be Muslims. But the CAA is meant to open our doors to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and even Christians subject to atrocities across our borders. As for the Muslims, they, going by Amit Shah’s public utterances, are termites who have to be squashed and exterminated. That is why Modi-Amit Shah regime has been most cruel to the poor Rohingyas fleeing large scale massacre by the Burmese troops. But this time the refugees belong to precisely the sects mentioned in the CAA.

Yet Indian troops have been posted all along the Indo-Myanmar border to prevent these refugees seeking shelter and security from the Myanmar troops. The Indian government is determined not to allow any of them on the Indian soil. Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga on the other hand, declaring that the Burmese are only “our people” does not just want to shelter them by setting up camps, but is offering them temporary employment under the MNREGS to enable them to sustain themselves on the Indian soil long enough to await a change of regime in their native country.

On the other hand, the BJP-NPP government in Manipur issued instructions last week directing its officials not to set up any camps for the refugees in its territory, thus causing clash between the outlook of the neighbouring Mizoram. Once the rival political forces went to town protesting this, chief minister N Biren Singh meekly retracted his instructions to the district administrative machinery. This merely proves the hollowness of Modi’s claims of being “concerned” at the age 21-22 for the Bangladeshi refugees, who were predominantly Muslims, in the first instance, to travel all the way from Vadnagar to Delhi a completely unknown territory for him to join a protest for the Matuas and Hindus and Muslims fleeing from the then East Pakistan when as the Prime Minister he has no love for any refugees from any of the neigbouring territories, whatever their caste, creed or plight may be.

The test of the pudding is in its taste and in this case its sour.

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No constitutional guarantee for OBC reservation: SC

No constitutional guarantee for OBC reservation: SC

By

Faraz Ahmad

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court pronounced on March 4 a very significant and far-reaching judgement on the issue of reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), virtually overturning the apex court’s own ruling in the Indira Sawhney case of 1993 which upheld the decision of the V P Singh government of 1990 granting 27 per cent reservation to the OBC castes on the recommendations of the Mandal Commission, as constitutional.

The bench comprising of Justice A M Khanwilkar, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Ajay Rastogi, ruling on a petition challenging Section 12 (2-C)  of the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961 which mandated for providing 27 per cent reservation for OBCs, held that the OBC quota is only “statutory”, meaning it has been granted through a legislative provision, unlike the “constitutional” reservation for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs and STs). While striking down the elections of several OBC members of the Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis of Washim, Akola, Nagpur and Bhandara districts of Maharashtra under the OBC reservation quota on this ground, the court held that the State Election Commission (SEC) of Maharashtra transgressed its powers by granting 27 per cent reservations to the OBC candidates in these districts because together with the SC/ST quota the total number of reserved seats in these zilla parishads and panchayat samitis went beyond the limited quota of 50 per cent reservation for all categories. Consequently, while quashing the EC notifications providing for some reserved seats for OBC candidates, it pronounced that the OBC candidates who won the polls on such reserved seats, “are declared as non est in law,” adding that the “the vacancy of seats(s) caused on account of this declaration be forthwith filled up by the State Election Commission.”

Thus, wherever the seats were so limited that the reservation for the SC/ST alone filled up the entire 50 per cent reservation quota, then no seats could be reserved for the OBC candidates at all. And wherever the quota for the SC/ST, plus OBC exceeded the 50 per cent limit, the OBC quota be cut accordingly to restrict the total reservation to 50 per cent only.In effect the Supreme Court held that the whole reservation for the OBCs was not protected by the Constitution. In other words, the government of the day was fully empowered to scrap the OBC reservation by simply amending the law because it had no constitutional guarantee.

Already this government has been systematically subverting the OBC and even SC/ST reservations in educational institutions and also many government bodies, mostly in BJP ruled north Indian states. This reservation was provided by the then Human Resources Development (HRD) minister in the UPA government Arjun Singh in 2006 leading to an uproar among the forward caste students in many north Indian states led by the doctors of AIIMS, with the students sitting on dharna. Former Chief Justice of India Justice R C Lahoti provided these students a morale booster by sitting on dharna with them. The Supreme Court however ruled in favour of this reservation also in its judgement of 2008.

Since then, till the UPA government lasted, the reservation for the teaching staff in universities and other higher education institutes was decided each year on the basis of total number of vacancies notified in the concerned institute at the beginning of the academic session. But this government altered this provision and now it is decided separately for each department. Thus, if for instance in the coming academic session of Delhi university the English department has only one vacancy, it will remain Unreserved, even if the total number of vacancies in the university may be, say 100. Also, if these were two, then one may go to unreserved category, and the second to the SC/ST and none to the OBC. In this situation, each department would notify its own vacancies and subtly keep these largely confined to unreserved categories and thus surreptitiously subvert the reservation provision in these institutions which has been going on for last couple of years.

This latest judgment of the apex court, while meeting the long pending demand of the Unreserved category to do away with OBC reservation to start with, further strengthens the case for scrapping reservation for the reserved category all together. Meanwhile in the latest move the Haryana government has decided to reserve 75 per cent of all jobs, both in the government and private sector, where the employee’s salary is less than 50,000 for only those bona fide domiciled in Haryana. This has already been implemented by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh and even challenged in the Supreme Court. But the court has yet to take a view on that. Other BJP ruled states also seem to be contemplating this move.

On the other hand, there is a concerted and well publicised move to open up jobs, purchase of land and settle in Jammu and Kashmir. Former Union minister Vijay Goel had put up hoardings outside his bungalow and Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had announced this in public meetings that securing jobs and settling in J&K, forbidden to outsiders before scrapping Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution, is now freely available to all those not domiciled in J&K.

The restriction under Art. 370, 371, 371 (a-g) were placed by the framers of our Constitution to protect and preserve the flora, fauna and distinct character of certain regions like Kashmir, North Eastern states and even certain other hilly areas from the land sharks of the mainland. The BJP government has proudly undone that. The matter of scrapping 370, 35A is pending before the apex court for close to two years now and it is still wondering when and why it should deliberate on this matter.

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Why target other farmers if the NIA suspects Sidhu to be a Khalistani?

Why target other farmers if the NIA suspects Sidhu to be a Khalistani?

By

Faraz Ahmad

Deep Sidhu, who defied the Kisan leadership, broke away from them and led a band of youth to hoist the Nishan Saheb at Red Fort, though not by desecrating or removing the National tricolour in any way, appears to be a BJP plant, who infiltrated into the ranks of the farmers parked outside Delhi borders for 65 days and agitating in Punjab for more than three months prior to that to seek the repeal of the three farm laws detrimental to their economic well being and seeking a legal guarantee for the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their produce. And by the way Nishan Saheb is no Khalistani flag nor was the national tricolour desecrated in any way.  

Ever since the farm agitation started, a recorded voice message comes on the phone from some foreign number with the recorded person calling himself Gurpatwant Singh and claiming this to be a call from the organisation describing itself as Sikhs for Justice (SFJ). Government sources now disclose that Deep and his brother Mandeep Singh had been summoned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for their suspected association with the SFJ which the investigating agencies claim has some foreign connection and buttresses their point that Khalistanis had infiltrated into the farmers’ movement. Several government ministers and BJP MPs have tried to malign the movement as a Khalistani conspiracy. The Attorney General of India K K Venugopal stated before the Supreme Court on January 12 that the Khalistan supporters had infiltrated the farmers’ protest and the NIA had pinned it on Deep Sidhu. But who is this Deep Sidhu?

Deep Sidhu is a small time Punjabi film actor whose other associate is Lakhbeer Singh Sidhana alias Lakha, arrested earlier under the Gangsters’ Act by Punjab police and contested the 2012 assembly elections as a candidate of the People’s Party of Punjab, though he was considered close to some Akali Dal leaders. He calls himself a social worker/activist. Both of them were at Delhi Singhu border almost from the beginning of the farmers’ dharna there and claim to lead what they call the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC). It is this KMSC, once a pronounced Left body, which is said to have been captured by Sidhu and company.

 Sidhu came into limelight not as an actor, an artiste or a lawyer, but as the side kick of Gurdaspur MP Sunny Deol, himself a well know film star and the son of veteran filmstar Dharmendra and step son of Mathura MP, also a reputed filmstar Hema Malini. With the death of one-time BJP favourite film actor MP from Gurdaspur Punjab, Vinod Khanna, the BJP was at a loss in 2019 general elections to find a suitable candidate for Gurdaspur. They reportedly approached Dharmendra through Hema Malini, but Dharmendra, who had once had a taste of becoming a BJP MP at Hema’s instance, is said to have declined. That is when they thought of Sunny Deol who in a 2001 movie “Gadar: Ek Prem Katha” had acted as a daring Sikh truck driver who first saved a Muslim girl during the partition of the country from marauders and rapists, fell in love with her, married her and when she went to Pakistan to meet her parents they refused to send her back to her husband; upon which he went all the way to Pakistan, single-handedly rescued her from her parents by fighting the entire Pakistan with a hand pump which he yanked off in anger and used as a weapon of aggression and self-defence. The movie was majorly promoted then since it was a BJP led government at the Centre then and also in Punjab, the BJP was part of the ruling alliance. Sources indicate that Sunny who never showed any signs of an interest in politics, was forced to succumb because there were some income tax issues involved. Once he filed his nominations, he was at sea in the world of politics and that is when Sidhu was attached to him, ostensibly by the local BJP leadership. There is one photograph of Sunny Deol and Sidhu as a cut sard without the Sikh pagri, standing together on either side of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, circulating in the social media. Another one shows him travelling in a plane seated with Sunny. A third photo is with Home Minister Amit Shah and a fourth with Dharmendra and Hema Malini. These photos are in circulation since the trouble created by Sidhu and his band came to light on Republic Day afternoon. So far there is no official denial of his past association with the BJP or Modi, except that Sunny Deol reportedly stated that he had broken off with Sidhu long ago. Maybe, but even he has not denied being photographed along with the Prime Minister and Sidhu.

SKM members claim that Sidhu and his band were all along working at cross purposes to them and defied the commonly agreed decisions of the SKM. News reports indicated that Sidhu and his band hijacked the stage at Singhu border on the eve of Republic Day and announced “Our Route, Ring Road” asking the farmers to follow them and thus deliberately created confusion and chaos in the ranks of peaceful farmers preparing for their tractor rally on Republic Day. The photograph of Nishan saheb being hoisted at Red Fort was also loaded on social media, according to sources, by Sidhu himself. At the Singhu border on Monday night he had announced from the stage that, “Thousands of youth want to take the Ring Road. The Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee has already decided to take the Ring Road. They are protesting ahead of us, so our tractors will be behind them. So, if anyone wants to go on Ring Road, they can follow the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee. Thus, the police which had been monitoring the movement closely were in the know of the fact that Sidhu and company would create trouble and disrupt the orderly tractor rally. How come they reacted so late and targeted innocent peaceful farmers who were in no way involved in that activity?

In a video released on social media soon after the Red Fort incident, Sidhu, speaking in Hindi said it was the outcome of the agitation that has been going on for several months and could not be blamed on one person…I had warned that our leaders had taken a decision which is against the youth’s sentiments.” It is evident now that Sidhu infiltrated into the peaceful kisan agitation with the objective of disrupting it and to prove the Government right that this movement was being sponsored by Khalistanis, which is farthest from truth.

But then the embedded TV channels immediately ran to announce that the national flag had been desecrated and assorted BJP leaders went to town condemning the whole movement as Khalistani. And nobody cared to underline that the Punjab farmers were not the only ones who broke ranks. The UP farmers who came from Baghpat side to Loni border also took the Delhi Police by surprise. Now these were not Sikhs. Similarly, the farmers at Ghazipur UP border, largely followers of Rakesh Tikait, majority of whom were not Sikhs, also broke ranks. But taking cue from our media stories, the Pakistani TV channels seem to have commented with relish that Khalistanis pulled down the Indian national flag at Red Fort and hoisted the Khalistani flag, and we happily swallowed it.  At the end of the day Government seems to have achieved its objective, thanks to this small aside of raising some people’s anger against the poor farmers. The objective was to ensure that the Jat farmer from western UP and Haryana would get disenchanted by this propaganda that the Sikh farmers are all Khalistanis and the movement would end in a split in the farmer community on pure communal lines.

Rakesh Tikait has succeeded in repudiating this canard and securing the support of his BKU members returning to Ghazipur, Simultaneously Chaudhry Ajit Singh’s Rashtirya Lok Dal (RLD) which sent its supporters from Baghpat side to participate in Republic Day rally also extended their support. There are reports of some people, perhaps instigated by the local BJP attacking the poor Sikh farmers at Singhu border to force them to leave, with the police standing there doing nothing. This is terrible. They are our Annadatas and Delhi is the national capital for all Indians all of whom have equal right to come and air their grievances. If you don’t like them in Haryana let them come to Delhi and agitate here. Delhi belongs as much to them as to us living in Delhi.

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Who’s a Liar?

Who’s a Liar?

Faraz Ahmad

Prime Minister has portrayed the entire Opposition liars for opposing his Trishul farm bills, forcing the farmers throughout the country to come out on the streets and spend this harsh biting winter on Delhi borders. We better humbly accept this without any reservations for Prime Minister is an Apostle of Truth.

Mughal Emperor Shahjehan must be wondering in his grave, because he was the first ruler of Delhi who built seven gates of entry and exit from the Delhi he built, and named it Shahjehanabad. He never closed the gates to Delhi. The only time the gates were closed was when the freedom fighters of 1857 first freedom mutiny against the British took over Delhi under the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, and closed the gates of Delhi to the British. Today our Made in Gujarat, despot has closed all the numerous entry points into Delhi to prevent India’s farmers from entering Delhi and airing their grievances against the farm bills, which they fear will ruin them but Modi says will boost agriculture economy.

The farmers, many with their wives and children in tow, can’t be allowed to enter the National Capital as if they are bigger threats to the Delhi’s health and environment than those who were imported from abroad to spread the Cornoa virus, lest those who give our daily bread pollute Delhi which Modi and his bhakts believe is reserved now only for the Prime Minister, his minions, his fans and the army of officials from his homeland Gujarat. Ignoring Modi’s edict, these agitators are knocking at our doors for more than a month with bags, baggage  and sundry items of daily use including food and quilts, all loaded on to their tractor trolleys, ready to outdo the Nanis (grandmas)of Shaheen Bagh who were protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and withstood one of the coldest winter for several years, from December last through January, February and March, till they were forcibly evicted by the Police at the instance of the Supreme Court on the pretext of controlling the fast spreading Corona with a countrywide lockdown. This winter appears harsher than the last year and the farmers more determined to withstand the test, Modi is putting them to.

He says first the farmers are changing goal posts. One wonders when did farmers say his Trishul is the panacea to their suffering or that any of those the three bills is acceptable to them in any form? Or have the farmers ever said please remove the MSP, it is causing us harm? Soon as BJP came to power in Bihar in 2005 it abolished the MSP and the Agriculture Produce Marketing Cooperative (APMC) mandis. Since then the farmers of Bihar are bring their produce to Punjab and Haryana to get some decent a remuneration for their produce. So much for releasing them from the clutches of Arhatis and the local mandis.

Modi says we are out to release the farmer from the clutches of the Arhati. Who asked for it? Doesn’t he remember that his former ministerial colleague late Sushma Swaraj spoke in the Lok Sabha during the UPA government describing the Arhati as the 24 hour ATM for the poor farmer who rushes to him for any sudden expenses he has incurred. But the farmers are liars because Modi says they are changing the goal post.

The farmers, now banging at all the doors of this NCR, spreading far beyond, held back at Haryana borders with Rajasthan or Uttar Pradesh borders with Uttarakhand are determined to continue their agitation for their twin demands– repeal of all the three anti farmer laws rushed through in the last Parliament session, by ejecting the Opposition demanding a division; and seeking legal framework to ensure the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for the farm produce for all times to come. Before coming to Delhi for last three months they were holding strikes, sit ins and demonstrations in their home states, most of all in Punjab, for the same. But the Prime Minister now says they are shifting the goal post. And the Prime Minister never tells a lie.

The Prime Minister never tells a lie, nor when he promised to the farmers in the run up to the 2014 general elections (C2+50), implying double the Cost of their produce, plus another 50 rupees. Naturally he has implemented his promise immediately on assuming office and therefore the farmers’ agitation is unjustified and “misled’ by a treacherous Opposition.

Modi promised to get back all the black money stashed abroad and after that to put 15 lakh rupees in the bank account of every Indian citizen. He never called it a ‘Jumla’. It is only Amit Shah who mistakenly called it a Jumla. As for Modi, he fulfilled his promise immediately. Modi promised two crore jobs for the unemployed youth each year and in these six years he has provided jobs to over 12 crore youths as promised. In fact, no one is unemployed in this country anymore, thanks to the magic wand Modi has swung. After all, in the Modi era the wealth of Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani has increased manifold, which will benefit the whole nation. Garv se kaho hum Ambani, Adani ke desh wasi hain (Be proud that you belong to the land of Ambani/Adani).

Remember when overnight he demonetised the 1000 and 500 rupee notes and succeeded through this very smart and wise move to get all the black money out. He had announced “give me 50 days and after that if you don’t see the result” (implying, all the black money spread out on your doorstep) you may hang me at the nearest lamp post.” Naturally he has successfully recovered all the black money. That is why he is there for all of us to pay him our obeisance and gratitude for delivering us from the curse of black money by replacing  the old 50 rupee note with a new look one and discarding 1000 rupee note with a 2000 rupee note.

He is a crusader against corruption and so his party now gets party funds through the electoral bonds wherein even the RTI cannot secure information who gave how much money from which corporate honcho. This is the most transparent system when no one knows how much fund the big money bosses have given away to which party and this was the idea of the most honest and clean politician the former Finance Minister of Modi, late Arun Jaitley. And let’s not talk of Rafael when the Supreme Court has refused to initiate any probe into the Rafael deal, which could point any finger at the Prime Minister. Nor on Sahara papers or Aditya Birla diaries which mentioend him by name for having taken crores from them. After all Modi is not Manmohan Singh or Sonia Gandhi. No one dare raise an accusing finger at him.

He had promised ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas  (Take everyone along, work for progress of all and secure the confidence of all). Towards this end he asked each MP to adopt at least one village in his or her constituency and secure its development from the MPLAD scheme. The RTI secured information revealed that the Prime Minister’s adopted village in his Varanasi constituency has not received a single paisa from his funds. So much for Vikas. As for gaining the confidence and taking everyone along, in the history of independent India for the first time he downgraded a state, Jammu and Kashmir from a state to a union territory after arbitrarily scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution by a single flourish of his pen and put the Kashmiri leaders under lock and key for over a year. That’s the way he gained the confidence of the only Muslim majority state in the country. But that was not enough he brought in CAA, NRC and NPR to single out these Muslims whose patriotism the RSS has taught him, is always suspect. And here these anti-nationals mislead the people that Modi is untrustworthy.

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