Bhopal: 2016 saw Shivraj Singh Chouhan firmly in the saddle as he completed his 11th year as Madhya Pradesh chief minister though he had to grapple with the situation arising out of the controversial police encounter in which eight suspected Simi activists were killed.
Chouhan also managed to win back RSS’ confidence after all did not seem to be well following police allegedly beating up Sangh pracharak Suresh Yadav in September at Balaghat district over a WhatsApp message with communal overtones.
He was also upbeat after CBI, the prosecution agency in the multi-crore Vyapam admission and recruitment scam, told the apex court that the electronic evidence in the rip-off was not tampered with.
The Congress has been alleging that the electronic evidence in the scam were tampered with by the state police to save Chouhan and his family.
Cow vigilantes too were seen in action in the first half of the year and in one such case, two Muslim women were beaten up at Mandsaur railway station on suspicion of carrying beef in July.
The state witnessed communal unrest in some parts.
After the encounter killings of suspected Simi activists who had mysteriously escaped the highly-fortified central jail here on Diwali night allegedly killing a security guard, questions were raised but Chouhan’s defence was that the police action was taken “for public good”.
Minutes after the encounter, Chouhan, who seldom speaks to the media, hurriedly convened a press conference to dub the undertrials as “terrorists” who posed a serious threat to society after escaping from the jail.
After the encounter, Muslims huddled in a mosque, on being denied permission to hold a public meeting. They claimed the killing was stage-managed.
Earlier, the community had often found the moderate Chouhan in their midst on Eids, once wearing a Muslim skull cap which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had refused to don.
After initial resistance, the state government agreed to a judicial probe into the encounter after the outcry and criticism by media and public.
The month-long Simhasta-Kumbh mela in the ancient city of Ujjain in April-May too made a political splash when BJP chief Amit Shah took a holy dip with the Dalit seers.
This drew the wrath of seers who said they were being divided on caste line for the first time.
The event also took a political hue with Congress blaming BJP for hijacking the event for political gain and siphoning off crores of rupees from the state exchequer.
Besides, the mela, considered to be one of the biggest congregations of Hindus, saw the participation of eunuchs for the first time despite the reservation of Hindu clerics.
After police action on Suresh Yadav, local Sangh Parivar leaders took to the streets in Balaghat and a confrontation between the RSS and the Chouhan government seemed imminent.
To mollify the RSS, the state government booked Balaghat Additional Superintendent of Police and other policemen and charged them with attempt to murder. The accused policemen, still at large, were suspended.
But RSS apparently wanted more. Finally, the Chouhan government shunted out Inspector General of Police and Superintendent of Police from Balaghat to placate it.
As the lower rungs of Sangh Parivar were still frowning, Chouhan flagged off a 5-month-long yatra from Amarkantak in Anuppur district – the origin of river Narmada – on December 11 with RSS at the helm of the event.
The event, called Narmada Seva Yatra, ostensibly aimed at turning the river pollution-free and maintaining the sanctity of the water body considered to be holy in Hindu scriptures.
At the start of the yatra, RSS general secretary Bhaiyaji Joshi heaped praises on Chouhan for his deep faith and respect for the holy river.
Then on December 19, in an apparent endorsement, senior RSS functionary Alok Kumar said Madhya Pradesh was a laboratory of Sangh Parivar’s ‘ekathma manavad’ (integral humanism).
Twenty-eight people hailing from the state perished in the derail incident of Indore-Patna Express near Kanpur on 20 November.
After 32 years of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, victims of the world’s worst industrial disasters and the organisations helping them rejoiced on December 7 when a local court issued notices to the then district collector and the then superintendent of police for allegedly helping Union Carbide Corporation CEO Warren Anderson to escape from the state capital and criminal prosecution in December 1984.
Anderson who died last year was facing charges of criminal liability in the compensation case for the disaster.
BJP also won a number of by-polls in the state that were held during the year including Shahdol (ST) Lok Sabha seat and three assembly seats.
During the end of the year, Aam Aadmi Party national convenor Arvind Kejriwal held a public meeting here. AAP has already raised cadres in several parts of the state with an eye on the 2018 assembly polls.
First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 14:57 IST
Sun, 18 Dec 2016-11:54pm , Kozhikode , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan came out in support of noted film director and Chalachitra Academy Chairman Kamal on Sunday, over his alleged remarks against the national anthem at IFFK in Thiruvananthapuram. Activists of Yuva Morcha, BJP’s youth wing, had on December 14 burnt Kamal’s effigy in protest against his alleged remarks on playing the national anthem before every show at IFFK.They had also allegedly addressed Kamal as ‘Kamaluddin’ and termed him “anti-national”. Speaking at an awards ceremony in Kozhikode, Vijayan alleged that the Sangh Parivar was behind the protests and that an attempt was being made to communalise the issue and derive political mileage out of it “The act of addressing Kamal as Kamaludeen only shows deep religious intolerance which will not work in Kerala. The government will take action against it. The Sangh Parivar’s certificate is not needed for Kamal,” he said.The issue had come into focus at the recently concluded International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) after police took 12 persons into custody on December 14 for showing disrespect to the national anthem. They reportedly refused to stand up while the anthem was being played. The activists had also charged that Kamal was behind selecting controversial Malayalam film “Ka Bodyscapes” which they alleged insulted the Hindu religion.
AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday said one cannot have a uniform civil code in a pluralistic and diverse country like India.”Would the Sangh Parivar be ready to let go of Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) tax rebates they are getting?” the Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad said, when asked if his party is in favour of a debate on uniform civil code.”There are 16 Directive Principles in our Constitution. One of them talks about total prohibition (of liquor). Why don’t we talk about it and have total prohibition throughout India because it’s also mentioned as Directive Principle,” Owaisi told PTI here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He noted there is data which says many women are being harassed or beaten by their drunkard husbands, and that one of the major causes of road accidents is drunken driving. “So, why don’t we have total prohibition in India?” he asked. Owaisi also noted that a section in Article 371 of the Constitution gives “special provisions” to Nagas and Mizos. “Will you be taking that off?” he asked.”These are the questions which one must answer and in a pluralistic and diverse country like India, you cannot have a uniform civil code because this is the strength of India,” he said. “We celebrate our pluralism because this is the country which celebrates religion. You cannot have one uniform civil code. So, this is next to impossible in India,” he said. On whether there is a need to review ‘triple talaq’ and polygamy in Muslim personal law, Owaisi said, “This question has to be answered by Islamic theological ‘Ulemas’, experts and Muslim scholars.”
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday lashed out at the BJP-led central government for failing to keep its promises, including bringing back blackmoney stashed abroad and charged it with harping on “emotive issues” to divert attention from the ones affecting the people.”The NDA government has not only failed to keep various promises, including bringing back black money stashed abroad and distributing it among the people, but it is seeking to create a strife in the society by raking up emotive issues from time to time to divert attention from problems of the masses,” he told an expanded meeting of the JD(U) state executive, legislative party and district unit presidents and office bearers at his official residence.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The NDA government is about to complete two years in office, but nothing has been heard on bringing back black money from abroad … It has failed to generate employment for youths nor has it kept various promises made during the general election,” Kumar said. Failing to live up to the people’s expectation, the central government and the Sangh Parivar have been intentionally raising emotive issues like ‘love jehad’, ‘ghar wapsi’ and nationalism to divert public attention, he told the party leaders and workers.Kumar hit out at BJP for harping on nationalism as a core issue of its ideology and agenda and said it was so then why did the saffron party stitch an alliance with PDP despite its adoption of a resolution condemning the hanging of Afzal Guru. “What type of nationalism is it when you slap sedition charge on students (of JNU) for raising slogans and stitch an alliance and form government with a party (PDP) which had publicly backed Afzal Guru?” Kumar asked.Contrasting the NDA government’s failure on various fronts with his government’s performance in Bihar, he said that his government has set out on ‘saat nischay’ (seven pledges) for improving of life of the general people.”Unlike the BJP-led NDA government, we are performers and believe in translating our commitments into action….we are going to implement the seven pledges with full vigour as we know that these measures will impact the lives of the people in positive ways,” the JD(U) leader said.
The Minister’s fabrications in parliament are the smallest of misdemeanours in the ongoing saga of Rohith Vemula suicide in Hyderabad Central University and Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest from Jawaharlal Nehru University. I say this with responsibility, knowing fully well the consequences of a cabinet minister speaking untruths on the floor of the house. The HRD minister’s misleading statements have been nailed by the media — from Rohith Vemula’s mother to the HCU chief medical officer to the Telangana Police report to JNU teachers association to numerous journalists, commentators and editors. The CPI-M will serve the notice for a breach of privilege against the HRD minister and she will be answerable for her ‘bunch of thoughts’ to the house.
If a minister lying to parliament is not the biggest misdemeanour, then what is? The bigger challenge faced by the country is the insidious attempt by the RSS to control India’s thinking, distort its ethos and straitjacket into a majoritarian Hindutva ideology. The students at colleges and universities – especially those who come from families of the poor, the downtrodden, the farmers, and the labourers – are targets of the RSS in this project to distort young minds by killing progressive, modern education. Rohith Vemulla and Kanhaiya Kumar belonged to that group, and because they chose to oppose the RSS agenda, one of them is dead and the other behind bars on trumped up charges.
India’s demographics are dominated by those below the age 35, making up 65 percent of the country’s population. The Sangh Parivar realises that its pracharak Prime Minister had enticed the youth with a lot of false promises in 2014, and none of them have come to fruition. Modi had promised 250 million new jobs every year but what we have instead, due to his government’s anti-people economic policies, are both greater unemployment and continued underemployment.
Modi had also announced huge skill development plans and private sector employment with great fanfare. The skill development plans have failed to talk off with only 13 percent rate of achievement of National Skills Mission. A scheme called SETU (Self Employment and Talent Utilisation) — only if every acronym coined by Modi added 0.1 percent to India’s growth, then we would be a bigger economy than China!-– remains only on paper, with no funds allocated for it.
No wonder, youth across India are already comparing Modi’s grandiose boasts to Mungerilal ke haseen sapney (The wonderful dreams of Mungerilal).
With the anger rising in campuses, the RSS, using its government at the Centre, is trying to remove the nodal points of channelising that anger. Student organisations, opposed to the RSS ideology, have become targets of blatant political witch hunts. Public universities and institutions of repute – FTII being a point in case – have been handed over to mediocre people to head, primarily because a Gajendra Chauhan is pliable while an Amartya Sen is not. Not fully unintended, but one of the consequences of such appointments is the destruction of these institutions, both by design and their incompetence.
A Vice Chancellor from the Sangh Parivar will take directions from the RSS, through the HRD ministry — as in the case of HCU — and allow police in the campus to intimidate the students opposed to the RSS’ political line. Anyone who asks questions of the RSS or undertakes campus activity which opposes the BJP can be treated like a criminal by a pliant V-C.
The JNU V-C allowed the police in to the campus without any warrant or legal cause to arrest the president of students union, Kanhaiya Kumar.
By using these strong-arm tactics, the RSS is trying to push its students arm, the ABVP into a dominant position in the campuses where it has no support. The ABVP thinks it is able to demonstrate its power and dominance by making state agencies act at their behest, e.g. getting the JNUSU President arrested, and by ensuring through two union ministers that Rohith Vemula and four other Dalit students are pushed out of HCU hostel and denied their dues by the administration.
What the RSS is doing here in India is not unique. Majoritarian religious organisations in various countries across the globe, whenever they have captured power, have attempted to do the same. Pakistan after the mid-1980s, is a prime example of what happens when conservative, reactionary and majoritarian forces start controlling the education system of a country.
Pakistan, in fact, has always been an object of special fascination for the Sangh Parivar. BJP leaders were fond of asking all their opponents and critics to ‘go to Pakistan’ but have stopped saying so since Prime Minister went to Pakistan uninvited to attend a wedding ceremony at Raiwind. Their best hope, one fears, now lies in making India a mirror image of Pakistan.
Fortunately, in a country as diverse and plural as India, with robust democratic traditions imbibed by the students, the Sangh Parivar’s failure is guaranteed. But this comes with the tragic loss of many lives, like it happened with Hitler’s Germany or Mussolini’s Italy, during the period of the rise of Fascism. This is a battle that will have to be fought and won by progressive forces. This government’s web of fabrications, are set to only widen. Because they need untruths, distractions from addressing core bread and butter issues of the people with fanning hatred, to further their larger ideological agenda.
The latest desperation of the Sangh-sarkar, to try and tarnish the majority of India, which did not vote for them, as ‘anti-national’ is an attempt to cast a dangerous veil over its serious and mounting national security failures. A dangerous situation created by this government’s rudderless policies since May 2014, continued flip-flops over Pakistan, Nepal, the Gurdaspur attack, Pathankot, followed by the more serious situation at Pampore, suggestive of a greater crisis in Jammu and Kashmir, the arrangement with PDP causing unease in its own camp, have forced them to try and hide behind a whipped up frenzy around ‘slogan shouting’ ‘Anti-Nationalism! Fake charges, doctored videos and getting after students, have all been part of an attempted national diversion from its own failures in the field of national security.
The HRD minister’s utterances in parliament defending the indefensible during the debate on JNU and HCU developments, are also a part of this design of trying to create a false category of only themselves as Deshbhakt.
This needs to be defeated, to first defend India, and from there, build a better India.
Sitaram Yechury is an Indian politician and a member of the politburo of CPI and the party’s Parliamentary group leader
BJP President Amit Shah on Saturday described Gujarat as the “laboratory” of Sangh Parivar’s ideology and expressed confidence of a victory for the party in 2017 Assembly polls as he once again attacked Rahul Gandhi over the JNU episode.Giving a pep talk to Gujarat BJP workers in the wake of recent loss in local body polls, Shah asked them not to get disappointed with the outcome, confident that the saffron outfit will emerge victorious at the Assembly polls and also the 2019 national elections.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We should not get disappointed here as this is the laboratory of our ideology. The 2012 win in Gujarat was the stepping stone for 2014 Lok Sabha win and in the same way 2017 victory will pave the way for win in 2019 national elections,” Shah asserted.The BJP leader, who last month got re-elected as party President for a fresh three-year term, was addressing a meeting of party leaders and workers, who had gathered here from across the State. Shah asked them to work collectively for BJP’s victory in the Assembly polls.He questioned the commitment of Rahul, the Congress Vice President, towards the country after his visit to JNU campus in support of students who allegedly raised anti-India slogans.”I want to ask State Congress leaders whether they endorse Rahul Gandhi’s stand on the JNU issue. He visited the (JNU) campus and extended support to those who raised anti- India slogans. He says they have freedom of expression. I wonder in which country Rahul lives,” said Shah.”When Gujarat is going for Assembly polls, it is now the responsibility of each BJP worker to follow Congress leaders wherever they go and force them to clear their stand (on the JNU issue). Till they clear their stand, you should not allow them to go among the people,” said Shah, indicating that the party workers may launch the poll campaign well in advance.Commenting on the setback suffered by BJP in district and taluka panchayat polls held in November last, Shah at one point expressed concern over the loss.”When I was in Delhi, I saw disappointment in the eyes of BJP workers here. It really surprised me. The polls results were indeed worrisome as we lost in the panchayat polls (in rural areas). However, we captured corporations and municipalities (urban centres). I want you to shed all your disappointments and get ready for the Assembly polls.”
Senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar on Monday said the BJP and the Sangh Parivar were working for the upliftment and betterment of the Muslim community. Referring to RSS’s Muslim Rashtriya Manch, he said a lot has been done for Muslims including providing them employment, proper education, housing, etc.He said the MRM was formed with a motive to work for the upliftment of the Muslim community and it is working to fulfill its motive by providing education to Muslim kids and making them self-sufficient. It has launched many welfare schemes for their better future in this country, he added. Kumar blamed the “appeasement politics” practised by various parties for the poor condition of Muslims.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noting that Jammu and Kashmir was a Muslim majority state, Kumar said that a large number of people of the community believes that India is the best country for them and they can flourish like other communities in this country as well as in this state. The RSS leader also said that they were planning to start a food grain bank, based in Pune, to ensure no one is left without food. MRM state president Nazir Ahmad Mir, former ministers Chaudhary Lal Singh, Abdul Ghani Kohli were among those who were present on the occasion.