Of Guru hanging and Home Minister's responsibilities
That there is a difference between what you hold and what you are
HOME Minister was expected to weigh the pros with cons, the effect on the overall situation, and the possible outfall. But what he has done is quite the reverse of what his position demands. Afzal Guru’s family was disallowed a meeting before carrying out the hanging. The speed post that Home Ministry claims was dispatched never reached there. Guru’s family made it clear that they did not receive one. Guru family appeals for allowing them to carry out the burial, conveyed through lawyers in Tihar were not heeded, denoting a continued tale of miscarriage of justice.
Shifting Shinde to home ministry in a cabinet reshuffle, few months back was bit of a surprise, given his performance in his previous assignments. As power minister, power production had more cons than pros, northern grid failures being glaring evidence. As chief minister of Maharashtra, he had to be eased out, as mismanaging the state was becoming increasingly evident. However loyalty to Nehru—Gandhi family weighs more in career advancement than performance. His predecessor—P Chidambaram in his cloak of intellectualism might be as good a loyalist as Shinde, otherwise he would hardly survive the way he has. However, he was proving to be a shade slow in hanging Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru. Sangh Parivar’s shrill cries were getting shriller, and the extremists were baying for blood.
Ajmal Kasab’s case falls in a different category. He was alleged to have been caught with a weapon in hand, which he had used as per evidence brought forth, in Guru’s case no such evidence existed. He was charged on a different ground—links with the ones allegedly involved in attack on parliament. Whether the links extended to being a part of conspiracy or not has not been established beyond a shade of doubt. That is the view expressed by the ones who contend the verdict of the Hon’ble Court. The view is also being aired that even if it is established that he was an in know of what would happen, would it entail capital punishment. More over the pronouncement in the verdict that it would satisfy the collective conscience poses a serious question—whether judicial verdicts would remain subservient to collective conscience or to the factual evidence—the merit of the case. More over what is the instrument of measuring the collective conscience of the nation?
Media trial with the growth of the electronic media has become the norm, even before judicial trial takes off. The shrill voices work-out a scenario that is made to be the collective conscience of the nation. Pre-conceived notions thus assume a form that is provided a shape in judicial verdict. This is indeed a tendency that needs to be addressed by the collective wisdom of the Indian nation. The collective wisdom is fast shrinking and getting limited to core states. Even in these states, Naxal movement challenges upper class oriented GOI policies. Northeast is out of tune with the national discourse. J&K state continues to an internationally accepted dispute…being an integral part of India is a sale that is not taking off.
India has a huge politico--diplomatic underbelly, which is being addressed in a manner hardly in sync with India’s claim of being the largest democracy in the world. Guru hanging is a part of marked democratic deficit visible to all, except the ones living in make-belief. The democratic deficit extends to all democratic institutions. It has affected the fourth estate—media. The media has in fact become an instrument in the hands of state to define the confines of acceptable national discourse.
Within the confines of national discourse, the two national parties—Congress and BJP are vying for space. Both these parties are outdoing each other in an effort to cater to extremist lobbies. With elections approaching fast, the Congress could not afford to be seen as a lesser proponent of so called ‘Cultural Nationalism’ than BJP. Hanging Afzal Guru became a priority. And as per his statement, all that needed to be done was adhered to, while carrying out the verdict. That is what a caring home minister would think twice.
(Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]
Lastupdate on : Thu, 14 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 14 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 15 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST
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