Monday September 24, 2018
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Congress, BJP turn Pathankot attack into political fight

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New Delhi: Arguments erupted between  BJP and  Congress party on Monday over the Pathankot attack, as Congress questioned on BJP’s handling of the threat to the nation’s security and BJP replied saying Congress should not politicise sensitive issues like terrorism.

“Intelligence report on a terror module’s infiltration in Delhi, bomb scare on the Shatabdi Express train and all-around general security alert have created an atmosphere of insecurity, raising a question mark on the government’s ability to neutralise the threat with the alacrity it deserves,” Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken said in a statement here.

“Seemingly, there is a lack of ‘command and control structure’ within the government to deal with, take control of and direct elimination of the terror attack like the one in Pathankot,” he added.

The main opposition party asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not describe as “Pakistanis” the terrorists who attacked the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot.

“Why is the PM giving a new description of terrorists as ‘enemies of humanity’ instead of describing them as Pakistani terrorists?” Maken asked.

“In one of the most sinister terror attack since 26/11 ( November 26, 2008, attack in Mumbai), Pakistani terrorists have committed a dastardly attack on India’s security by storming the IAF base in Punjab, which is one of our principal first line of defence,” he said.

The Congress also criticised the government for not convening a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to assess the situation.

“As expected, the PM should have convened a CCS meeting with all his ministers, monitor the situation and provide a clear-cut unified command to give a befitting reply to Pakistani terrorists and their handlers in Pakistan,” the Congress leader said.

“Besides saving many lives in the process, Modi Ji should have sent a strong message of reassurance qua security to all countrymen and a stern warning to those in Pakistan that is exporting terror modules into India,” he added.

Taking a dig at Modi, Maken said: “Even as the neutralisation of terrorists at the Pathankot air base continued with our security forces fighting valiantly, Modi was propagating yoga to the gatherings in Karnataka.”

He said Modi also addressed a press conference amid the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack when he was the Gujarat chief minister.

The BJP criticised the Congress for flaying the government.

“In the midst of the operation, the Congress criticism is unfortunate. It should not politicise such a sensitive issue like terrorism,” BJP national secretary Srikant Sharma said.

“The menace of terrorism is four decades old and the NDA government has inherited it from the previous governments,” he added.

Sharma also said the Congress has no moral right to question the Modi government and its policies against terrorism.

“Those who are responsible for the menace of terrorism have no moral right to question those trying to solve it,” he said.

He also claimed that the government was a visible one and handled the Pathankot attack actively.

“The previous UPA regime’s approach towards terrorism was casual whereas the present government is active and visible. There was an input from security agencies and the government handled the issue prudently,” Sharma said.

On the Congress’s criticism that Modi had addressed a press conference amid the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, he said: “We will respond to the Congress’s allegation in their language at an appropriate time.”(IANS)

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What Would Be The Outcome Of The Judgement On Homosexuality With BJP At The Centre?

If parties like the BJP and "cultural" organisations like the RSS realise the value and motivation of such mindsets, they will desist from their present attempts to impose a straitjacket of their pseudo-religious identity on the nation.

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Ruling on gays: Is the BJP out of sync with modern realities? Flickr

More than the social impact of the Supreme Court’s judgment on homosexuality, what will be of concern to the ruling party at the Centre is its political fallout. Hence, the eloquent silence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the subject.

For the BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), any expansion of the concept of civil liberties is fraught with danger to their restrictive worldviews since a widening of human rights carries the prospect of greater individualism.

If the rights of the homosexuals to live without legal constraints are conceded, it can only encourage the people to free themselves of other restrictions as well such as on choosing live-in partners (of whatever sex) and eating, dressing and speaking as they please.

Homosexuality, India
SC decriminalises homosexuality, victory for gay rights. Pixabay

It is noteworthy that the verdict on gays has come close on the heels of the judgment which described the right to dissent as a “safety valve” which the government can only shut off at its peril lest there is an explosion.

Moreover, the court had also upheld not long ago the right to privacy which the government described as an “elitist” concept.

For the Hindu Right, as also for other religious fundamentalists, this dalliance with civil rights — the freedom to criticise the government, the exaltation of privacy and now the decriminalisation of homosexuality — entails a push towards liberalism and modernism which are anathema to any group which wants the society to be bound by shackles of orthodoxy and obscurantism.

It is ironic that although the Hindutva brotherhood speaks of decolonising the Indian mind, the two colonial laws which have long been its favourites are the section on homosexuality in the Indian Penal Code and on sedition.

Now that one of them is gone, there is little doubt that these closet followers of Britain’s 19th century politician Lord Macaulay — even as they decry the secular groups as “Macaulay’s children” — will hold on resolutely to the law on sedition as their only safeguard against the “anti-nationals” who, they believe, stalk the land.

Homosexuality
It is ironic that although the Hindutva brotherhood speaks of decolonising the Indian mind, the two colonial laws which have long been its favourites are the section on homosexuality in the Indian Penal Code and on sedition.
Wikimedia Commons

It is also possible that the saffronites will keep a hawk’s eye on any social problems that may arise because of the assertion of gay rights. As the BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has said, with eager anticipation, if a five-judge bench can overturn an earlier judgment in favour of criminalising homosexuality, a larger bench can undo the present verdict if gay bars begin to flourish and there is a rise in the cases of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infections.

Interestingly, what these judgments underline is how the judiciary is more attuned to the changing world than the elected representatives of the hoi polloi who often argue in favour of giving greater primacy to the legislature than the judiciary since they claim to represent the people while the judges are unelected denizens of an ivory tower.

However, one possible reason why MPs and MLAs, especially of the BJP, seem to be out of sync with the present-day world is the presence in their midst of a large number of criminal elements who can hardly be regarded as the most progressive sections of society.

For instance, of the 543 elected members of the Lok Sabha, of whom 186 have a criminal record, 63 belong to the BJP, followed by eight of the Shiv Sena, four of the Trinamool Congress and three each of the Congress and the AIADMK.

Homosexuality
Gay Pride Procession. Pixabay

What the Supreme Court judgment appears to have done is to persuade parties like the Congress, which usually hedges its bets lest it should fall on the wrong side of public opinion, to come out in the verdict’s favour, presumably because it senses that this judgment, more than any other, has become a touchstone in the matter of breaking out from the stranglehold of the past.

To distance a party from it, as the BJP is doing, will amount to virtually alienating the entire youth community. Even if a majority among them do not have homosexual instincts — according to official figures, there are 2.5 million gay people in India, but this may be an underestimate since, till now, it was unsafe for them to reveal their sexual orientation — the youths nevertheless see the ruling as an assertion of living life on one’s own terms and not be held hostage by the dictates of a society steeped in conservatism and of political parties which believe that their agenda can only advanced if the country is made forcibly to conform to khap panchayat-style social and cultural norms.

Also Read: Why JDU & BJP Coalition Will Remain Instant

To these youths, being or not being aware of homosexuality is of little consequence. What matters to them is to be able to make up their own minds and not be told by elders to abide by certain rules which are regarded as outdated by the younger generation.

If parties like the BJP and “cultural” organisations like the RSS realise the value and motivation of such mindsets, they will desist from their present attempts to impose a straitjacket of their pseudo-religious identity on the nation. (IANS)