What have we come to? To what depths of political degradation have we fallen that the politicking especially prior to the first phase of elections to the Gujarat State Assembly should be turned into name-calling and mud-slinging? One is ashamed of our leaders. One expected some high class speechifying from the Congress leaders in fighting the elections. As it turned out, both Sonia Gandhi and the party general secretary Rahul Gandhi could only engage themselves in slovenly shouting unworthy of any leader. The idea, apparently, was to run down the Gujarat Chief Minister in whatever way possible. And understandably he hit back in ample measure unworthy of an elder. Sonia Gandhi was badly advised. So was Rahul. They had nothing positive to say and whatever they said reflected poor taste. Is Gujarat a ?den of sins? as was made out by Congress leaders? Do they have their own hands clean?
Surprising support to the Gujarat Chief Minister has come from an unsuspected source: columnist Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar. According to him, the Chief Minister is ?factually on firm ground in saying that political parties who have resorted to extra judicial killings in other states are hypocrites in trying to portray Gujarat as a den of sin?. And how right he is. In Punjab, during the rise of the Pakistan-ISI sponsored Sikh militancy, upholding civil rights or the rule of law did not end it. Sikh terrorism was quashed by state terror, by extra-judicial torture, kidnapping and murder.
Ask K.P.S.Gill. Earlier, when Naxalite militants threatened West Bengal in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was collusion between Congress and CPM that led to the crushing to the insurgents again, through extra-judicial means. As Aiyar noted, ?Naxalism was not quashed by the rule of law, but by State terror?. Forget the past. Think of the present. Who halted the Nandigram revolt sponsored by the Bhumi Uchched Pratiridh Committee (BUPC): the West Bengal police? The CRPF? Neither. It was the CPM cadre, fully armed, which ?invaded? Nandigram in ?Operation Recapture? and took it over. Fully armed CPM cadres? Yes, fully-armed CPM cadres indeed. Not only did the CPM cadres take over Nandigram, they have been, according to The Statesman (November 16) laying down fines on BUPC supporters. The cadres would tell them that if they did not pay the fine they would have to leave their homes. Has the Congress raised its voice against this form of terrorism and utter lawlessness?
The State police simply failed to stop the cadres. And West Bengal'sChief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya boasted about their work, saying the Opposition in Nandigram has been ?paid back in the same coin?. He even went to the extent of saying that the CPM cadres were ?legally and morally justified in entering Nandigram, armed?. Where, pray, is the rule of law? The media has not identified the so-called ?Opposition?, which largely consisted of Muslims. Fancy something like that happening in Gujarat with a Gujarat Nandigram being ruthlessly put down, say, by ?fully armed? RSS cadres? The media then would have been up in arms. The RSS would have been damned as an anti-Muslim outfit. And the Chief Minister would have been condemned as a fascist, communal monster and killer of Muslims. The CPM has been able literally to get away with murder of Muslims. But what has the media to say about it? Nothing.
The Times of India (December 7, 2007) demanded of the Gujarat Chief Minister that he should ?understand the rule of law?. Did it give the same advise to Buddhadev Bhattacharya? A report in The Pioneer (November 10) re-called what happened in Nandigram. It said: Hungry men, women and children, rendered homeless after CPM cadres began to shoot and bomb their way into Nandigram wailed in despair? They had to retreat under the deadly firepower of the Marxist militia armed with sophisticated weapons, including self-loading rifles?? Can one imagine RSS volunteers being thus armed? Where did the Marxist cadres get their arms from? The Congress has no answer. It prefers to look away from the scene.
CPM'smurderous activities are not new. The Marxists have been indulging in Nandigram-type violence against BJP workers in Kerala for decades. It doesn'tserve Congress to remember these foul acts. According to BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy, over the last 40 years since 1960s, about 150 RSS and BJP workers have been killed in Kerala, especially in Kannur district. Many more were attacked. As many as 15 survivors of such violent attacks, many of them amputees, told their stories to reporters in Delhi. They said that their hands and legs were cut off often because they had deserted the CPM to join the RSS or BJP. The violence shown by the CPM has never been projected by the media, because the CPM is allegedly ?secular?. One would like to ask the CPM-led governments in Kerala and West Bengal how many of their party murderers have been booked, let alone tried and sentenced to death. If these state governments would not provide the answer, will Home Minister Shivraj Patil kindly provide one?
The late Nikhil Chakravartty was a confirmed Leftist, but even he had complaints to make against the CPM. Writing in Mainstream (January 23, 1993) a journal he edited, Chakravartty recalled how in a village in Nadia district, a deaf and dumb girl in a poverty-stricken family had been ?allegedly? raped by a worker of the ruling CPM. Her mother complained to Mamata Bannerjee, then a Union Minister of State and an M.P. Mamata sought an appointment with a CPM Minister in Kolkata who refused to see her. Mamata decided to observe dharna in front of the Chief Minister'soffice. The police encircled her, physically dragged her down the stairs, whisked her away in a police van to police headquarters and locked her up until midnight. And this happened to a Union Minister and an MP. That is the CPM.
The media which tried to cover the event were pounced upon, beaten up and had their cameras smashed. All by the CPM cadres or their police counterparts. Has the RSS ever been guilty of such behavious anywhere in India, including Gujarat? Now Karat is frightening the UPA that if it goes ahead with the talks with the IAEA, then it would withdraw its support to the coalition. When will Congress learn that the BJP Chief Minister of Gujarat comes out smelling of roses when contrasted with the CPM thugs who observe no law and have no respect for authority? And has Congress forgotten that it was the CPM which originated the concept of gherao, torturing Company managers in many ways that was ultimately to lead to the closure of several industrial units in West Bengal? One suspects Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh suffering from loss of memory. Or is it a question of holding on to power at any cost? Answer, Congressmen, answer!