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Intolerance jibe ploy of Modi’s political opponents: Venkaiah Naidu

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New Delhi: Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday claimed the perception about “rising intolerance” in the country and was being manufactured by “certain sections that are against PM Narendra Modi”  and hit out at the Congress for taking the issue up with President Pranab Mukherjee amid suggestions that the issue may rock the upcoming winter session of parliament.

“They are meeting the president to talk about rising intolerance. The Congress talking about intolerance is the joke of the century. It is like the devil quoting the scriptures,” Naidu told reporters here, claiming the Congress was not reconciled to being in the opposition and was “intolerant to the people’s mandate” that chose Modi as the prime minister.

The statement comes in the wake of criticism from a cross section, prominently global credit agency Moody’s, and expression of concern by top business leaders like Narayan Murthy and Kiran Majumdar Shaw as well as Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.

Asked about concerns business leaders expressed last week over the vitiated atmosphere, Naidu said: “That’s not the words and phraseology they used. Some of them are misleading; others are misread.” He, however, conceded that some voices were “well-meaning” and were “naturally concerned”. “Our objection is to all these incidents being linked to PM Modi.”

He also cited “atrocities” committed in Congress ruled-states and in states ruled by “Congress-friendly parties”.

“The Dadri incident happened in Uttar Pradesh where the Samajwadi Party is in power and friendly to Congress. M.M. Kalburgi’s killing happened in Karnataka that is Congress-ruled, rationalist Narendra Dabholkar was killed in Maharashtra in August 2013 when the Congress was in power in the state. These incidents are primarily being quoted to justify the sense of outrage,” he said.

Hitting out at writers, artistes and other intellectuals protesting the sudden rise in communal attacks in the country, Naidu asked where these “conscience-keepers” were when genocide was committed against the Sikhs after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984.

“Conscience keepers were silent during the Emergency, when judges were superseded, when fundamental rights were violated, when the constitution was amended to favour one individual and when thousands were sterilized forcibly and MPs were jailed,” he said.

“They had a genocide against Sikhs and their leader (then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi) justified it saying, ‘when a big banyan tree falls, the earth shakes’. Local Congress leaders led the riots against Sikhs all over India. Their silence was conspicuous during the mass exodus and genocide of Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir Valley. Now they are complaining of intolerance,” he said.

He said there was no outrage when “Prof. T.J. Joseph’s right palm was chopped off by the Popular Front of India in 2010, a friendly party of Congress in the state of Kerala, for allegedly insulting the Prophet”.

“Marxists goons entered a classroom in Kerala and hacked to death K.T. Jayakrishnan in front of his students in Kannur district. Marxist rebel T.P. Chandrasekharan was murdered in 2012. He had 51 grave cuts and slashes all over his body,” said Naidu. He also referred to the attack on Dalits in Haryana’s Mirchpur when 70-year-old Tara Chand and his 18-year-old disabled daughter were burnt to death in 2010 under the rule of then chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of Congress.

About BJP president Amit Shah’s statement in a poll rally in Bihar that if the party lost in the state, crackers will be burst in Pakistan, Naidu sought to dismiss the statement. “That is election campaign. The BJP president has clarified his statement,” he said.

(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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Flag Of BJP, homosexuality
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)