Many faces of sedition
Sedition has many faces and voices. And under the UPA, they are getting shriller. From Simranjit Singh Mann to the NSCN (IM) leader Issak Chi Swu and Thingaleng Muivah to the moderate and hard-line Hurriyat honchos in Kashmir, the list is getting longer by the day. They all speak the language of sedition, get aid and support from foreign soil, but under the UPA they get different treatment, considering perhaps their religious status.
They have created categories of more and less citizens, to suit their political convenience. Like in the olden days a Brahmin would get maximum punishment compared to a Dalit for the same crime, a Hindu or Sikh will get jail for sedition, but a Muslim or Christian will get VVIP treatment with diplomatic hospitalities for treason.
So a Muivah can be a state guest claiming to secede the Naga region of the northeast to carve out a sovereign Christian country. It did not take 24 hours to put Mann behind bars for making a seditious speech. And it should have been so. But a Shahabuddin of the RJD accused of dozens of crime, each deserving the gallows, the latest being terrorist ISI connections, is still out of reach of law.
The Congress has always been known for its proclivities for terrorists if they pay politically handsomely. So in Assam, Tripura and Andhra Pradesh, it has no qualms in aligning with the ultras. The Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has admitted to have shared a platform with Khalistanis in Toronto, Canada, the saving grace being he did not read the banner behind him! But he heard, mercifully, the boisterous Khalistani slogans raised by his audience. No action is taken against him, understandably his patriotic credentials were never in doubt, but like soft Hindutva, soft-peddling sedition is immensely rewarding.
Muivah has no case and he has no base. According to our own investigation, Nagas are suspicious of him, he does not belong there (see Organiser, June 19, 2005). But the government of India is endlessly indulging him, it all started with the NDA. There was a full-time interlocutor for the seditionist.
India'spolicy on Kashmir is getting more and more curious. Officially, Kashmir is an integral part of India. We are pledged to protect this territorial integrity. And we have no doubt in our mind about the melting down of Article 370 and full integration of the region with the rest of India. This process was on till early 90s. Under the Congress Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao, a delegation led by the BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee gave a sterling performance in the UN declaring the inalienability of the reality of Kashmir being the integral part of India. The delegation consisted also of leaders like Farooq Abdullah and Salman Khurshid. Farooq Abdullah'sspirited defense of the Indian position in the UN had the entire nation in thrall.
The present Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is a former Home Minister of India. Farooq'sson Omar Abdullah was a union minister in Vajpayee cabinet. Swearing as union minister and MPs, they had all pledged to protect and defend the unity and sovereignty of this country. Bypassing these popular, elected leaders of the state the Centre is entertaining the seditious segments, propped up by the enemy country, who only represent alien interest. And they are behaving as if they are a nation within India.
In any other country, they would have been put to public execution. Under the NDA there was some talk of making the LoC permanent as part of a peace settlement with Pakistan. Thirteen months through Manmohan Singh, the ultras are talking of a united sovereign state of Kashmir. They declare themselves Kashmiri citizens, Pakistan makes light of Indian passport, they go to Pakistan and return without valid travel documents, make anti-national statements, wait for New Delhi to extend similar hospitalities as Pakistan had offered.
Dr. Manmohan Singh in his letter last week to former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee assured that Indian national interest will be ?fully safeguarded? while pursuing peace with Pakistan. This he has to, this again is the oath he had taken at the time of swearing in as prime minister. It also demands to apply law of the land equally and impartially to all. You cannot have different yardsticks for treason, whoever has committed it. Protecting, preserving and defending national integrity is the primary duty of any government. And for this the law against sedition should apply equally.