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Fundamentalists eclipsing democracy in Bangladesh

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Kolkata: Expressing concern over the atrocious rise of fundamentalist power in Bangladesh eminent Ajoy Roy, the father of slain secularist writer-blogger Avijit Roy, on Tuesday urged the youth to thwart the threat and uphold democracy.

Participating in a discussion on “Intolerance and Democracy” at Calcutta University, Ajoy Roy said Bangladesh was going through tough times where fundamentalists were running the show and wiping out the secular fabric and democracy in the country.

“Fundamentalists have now eclipsed free thinking and are now devouring the society. If we don’t stand up now, then I have to say, Bangladesh’s democracy is in real danger.”

“There is no alternative unless stopped, they will wipe out secularism, they will wipe out democracy,” he said.

Expressing deep anguish and grief over the killing of his son and other bloggers, Roy urged the youth to stand up against communal forces and take up arms if the need be.

“Our only hope now is the youth. But then, only writing or words will not suffice. We need to build a movement, we need to hit the streets. The onus is now on the youth to carry forward the legacy of our freedom fighters and save our country.”

“If the need be, they (youth) should be ready to take up arms against these elements.”

“When fundamentalists are charging towards you with swords, how do you counter them? You need to talk to them in a language which they understand,” he exhorted.

Besides Avijit Roy, three other bloggers — Oyasiqur Rahman Babu, Ananta Bijoy Das and Niladri Chatterjee Niloy — were hacked to death by Islamist militants.

All four bloggers were involved with the ‘Ganajagaran Mancha’, a movement demanding maximum penalty for those who committed war crimes during the 1971 Bangladesh freedom struggle and a ban on religion-based politics.

On the occasion, historians Sumit Sarkar and Tanika Sarkar expressed grave concern over the growing influence of Hindutva outfits, including the RSS and the VHP, and asserted intolerance was steadily rising since the advent of the Narendra Modi government.

“As writers or historians, we don’t know which of our work will enrage the Hindutva outfits and we will have to face their wrath.

“It would not be far-fetched to say that had Bhagat Singh been alive today and if he had written his last book ‘Why I am an Atheist’ now, maybe he would have met the same fate as Govind Pansare,” said Tanika Sarkar.

Referring to the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi, Tanika Sarkar congratulated all those who had returned their awards in protests against the growing intolerance.(IANS)

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Is chaos in the ranks of Supreme Court a threat to the Indian Judicial System?

Why did have four apex judges of Supreme Court of India have to go public regarding a matter which could have been solved internally?

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SC Judges went in an open dissent against Chief Justice Dipak Mishra by calling a press conference. Wikimedia Commons
SC Judge's open dissent against Chief Justice Dipak Mishra as they called a press conference. Wikimedia Commons

By Salil Gewali

When the judges become noisy plaintiffs, who will deliver the judgment? This was the kind of unprecedented situation that we witnessed last week. Yes, Supreme Court is the last resort where an estimated one hundred and twenty-five crore people repose their faith. We are the public having great faith in democracy. However, when the custodians of the democracy themselves openly roar that “our democracy is in danger”, where do we go? Well, the people of this country had to face such ‘comedy of errors’ enacted by four devious judges — all in the name of expressing displeasure, grievances, more candidly, when the country is ruled by the upright PM Modi whom they dislike.

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For whatever be the reasons, the stooping low by these judges has led people to lose their faith in the judiciary. Is it not a sort of degeneration because it also showed there is an obvious rift between the protesting judges and the Chief Justice of India. One of the judges had again said that there was no constitutional lapse on the part of the Chief Justice, but the convention, practice, and procedures that he followed while awarding cases to various judges were in question. He was also categorical that they would sort out this issue among themselves and no outside intervention is required. What does one not understand is, why did they “go public” with their internal issue, if they felt, they, themselves could sort it out? Whom were they trying to trick after breaking the established principle of judicial restraint?

Justice Kurian Joseph was one of the four judges who called the press conference. Wikimedia Commons
Justice Kurian Joseph was one of the four judges who called the press conference. Wikimedia Commons

It is very true that some things were not going well within the four walls of our judiciary. But are all things going on, in order, in this great country of ours where political leaders and a certain brand of media fraternity ceaselessly groan and moan? They all overwork to push for their host of devious agendas. They are too alert to something but play deaf and dumb for many other things. These very undesirable acts by these elites that have only been draining the very values of the democracy and national sovereignty.

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Yes, in this particular case, the rule of law itself has been undermined. This has clearly raised the questions of integrity and propriety. What is astonishingly outrageous is the fact that after a short while of the press conference a CPI leader D. Raja rushed to visit Justice Chelameshwar to shake hands. Does it not sound too fishy and unethical? Do we still doubt that it was a preplanned scheme? Who now disagrees that there were not the skeletons in the closet. Very soon they all might frighten us all, nay, the whole nation.

Further, if the learned judges had the solution to their stated issues, was their press conference not tantamount to washing dirty linen in public? Could they not have imagined the adverse effect of their action on the citizenry? However genuine their grievance is, which they may claim, it has invariably dented the very credibility of the Apex Court. The esteem with which people looked at it has now been just eroded.

The Indian system faced a huge crisis on January 12 when 4 senior judges called a press conference to discuss a matter which could have been solved internally. Wikimedia Commons
The Indian system faced a huge crisis on January 12 when 4 senior judges called a press conference to discuss a matter which could have been solved internally. Wikimedia Commons

Read more: Is Islamic inequality a conspiracy against the God?

On the other side, the opportunistic politicians have been too quick enough to feed on the fodder that was generated. As usual, the Congress President Rahul Gandhi lost no time to attack BJP. The CPI leader, D. Raja got his opportunity to make his otherwise obscure presence felt in public. Some other corrupt politicians acted swiftly to get Anuj, the aggrieved son of late Justice Loya in front of TV cameras to “request all to not harass or trouble” the family. Anuj became a pawn in the hands of the high and mighty. Instead of saving the family, in the garb of helping them, the unscrupulous politicians are trying to put them in dire straits. Our greedy and self-centred politicians turn anyone in distress into a pawn in their hands. And they are ingenious in turning any untoward incident into demonic opportunity. If these dishonest politicians have their way, our country will have disaster written all over.

Salil Gewali is the author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali