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“India is being unmade, being destroyed”: Nayantara Sahgal

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NewsGram Staff Writer

Condemning the Dadri lynching, noted writer Nayantara Sahgal returned the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award in protest against what she called the “vanishing space” for diversity.

Sahgal, the niece of the former Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, also said people were being “killed for not agreeing with the ruling ideology.”

She referred to the recent killings of rationalists and writers MM Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare and of Dadri resident Mohammad Akhlaq, who was lynched on suspicion of consuming beef and said, “…in this rising tide of hatred, India is being unmade, being destroyed.”

Claiming that she was anxious at the situation in the country, she said, it seemed to be getting “worse and worse” in the past 15 months. “I guess the death of this poor man in Dadri (Mohammad Akhlaq) was the final…the last straw,” she said.

Questioning Prime Minister’s silence over the issues, she said, “in all these cases, justice drags its feet. The Prime Minister remains silent on this reign of terror. We must assume he dare not alienate evil-doers who support his ideology.”

Denying that her decision stems from her political beliefs, Sahgal said, “I am not against any political party. India is a democracy, and in democracies every party has a right to be in power, but what we are seeing in India today is fascism. There is a vanishing space for diversity to the extent people are being killed for not agreeing with the ruling ideology.”

Sahgal famously criticised her cousin, Indira Gandhi, for actions during the Emergency in 1975.

(With inputs from The Hindu)

 

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Arun Jaitely Says Indira Gandhi Was No Different Than Hitler

The BJP leader said the 42nd Amendment diluted the power of High Courts to issue writ petitions

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Harsh Penal Proceedings For Illegal Swiss Bank Deposit Holders: Arun Jaitely
Harsh Penal Proceedings For Illegal Swiss Bank Deposit Holders: Arun Jaitely. flickr
Indira Gandhi Imposed Emergency. Flickr
Indira Gandhi Imposed Emergency. Flickr

Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday compared former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who imposed Emergency, to Hitler, stating that both used the Constitution “to transform democracy into dictatorship”. Jaitley, whose second blog of a three-part series coincided with the 43rd anniversary of imposition of the Emergency, also noted that unlike the German dictator, Gandhi went ahead to transform India into a “dynastic democracy”.

“Both Hitler and Gandhi never abrogated the Constitution. They used a republican Constitution to transform democracy into dictatorship,” he said. The BJP leader said Gandhi imposed Emergency under Article 352, suspended fundamental rights under Article 359 and claimed that disorder was planned by the opposition.

Jaitley said Hitler, who became the German Chancellor on January 30, 1933, got his President to invoke Article 48 of the country’s Constitution which gave emergency powers for the “protection of people in the State”. “The decree giving emergency powers put restrictions on personal liberty, free speech… The pretext for imposition of Emergency was that on February 27, 1933, German Parliament House, known as ‘Reichstag’, had been set on fire.

“Hitler claimed that it was a communist conspiracy to burn Government buildings and museums. Thirteen years later, in the Nuremberg trials, it was established that Reichstag fire was the handiwork of Nazis and Goebbels had conceived it.” He said Hitler arrested most opposition MPs.

“Indira Gandhi arrested most opposition MPs and, therefore, procured, through their absence, a two-third majority of members present and voting and enabling the passage of several obnoxious provisions through Constitution amendments,” Jaitley said.

The BJP leader said the 42nd Amendment diluted the power of High Courts to issue writ petitions, “a power which Dr. (B.R.) Ambedkar had said was the very heart and soul of India’s Constitution”. “They also amended Article 368 so that a Constitution amendment was beyond judicial review. There were a few things that Hitler did not do which Gandhi did.

 

“She prohibited the publication of Parliamentary proceeding in the media. The law which gave mandate to the media for publishing Parliamentary proceedings was popularly known as the Feroze Gandhi Bill,” he said. Since Hitler’s own election has been set aside, he had no change to make in this regard.

Also read: ‘1984 riots shut our doors to a better life’ (October 31 is the 32nd anniversary of Indira Gandhi’s assassination)

“Gandhi amended both the Constitution and the Representation of People Act. The Constitution amendment made the election of the Prime Minister non-justiciable before a court. “The Representation of People Act was retrospectively amended to insert those provisions so that the invalid election of Gandhi could be validated by changes in law.” He said amendments to the constitution made during Emergency were later reversed by the Janata Party government. (IANS)

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