10/11/2006 8:36:46 AM
By Shachi Rairikar
The entire nation stands horrified as our so-called “intellectuals”, human rights and social activists campaign vigorously to save Afzal Guru, who masterminded the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. The demand for clemency coming from the likes of Lone, Yasin Mallick, S. A. R. Geelani is not surprising as they all are self-admitted and declared separatists and anti-nationals. But it is deeply saddening to see the self proclaimed saviours of human rights and democracy volunteer all their strength to save the life of a person responsible for the most heinous crime - attack on our Parliament, the temple of democracy . Those seeking clemency for Afzal have never been seen extending sympathy and support to the victims of terrorism or to the families of the martyrs who sacrifice their lives fighting the terrorists. Nor do they seem to care about the plight of the families of those who might be abducted and held at ransom by terrorists to liberate Afzal Guru should his death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment.
One of the campaigners for clemency towards Afzal is the Magassassay Award winner and social activist Sandeep Pandey.
Though Pandey claims to be a Gandhian, advocates peace, protests against India ’s nuclear programme, he has no qualms in addressing communist conferences where violent naxalites, who kill government servants and innocent civilians, are honoured. Pandey is greatly pained for the alleged minority killings in Gujarat but does not have a word of sympathy for the three and half lakh Kashmiri pundits who were mercilessly driven out of their homeland. Instead he has been supporting the separatists in Kashmir , directly or indirectly. Like a typical communist, he does not have faith in the “traditional concept of nationalism”. Asha and AID, two organisations that Pandey is associated with have been allegedly diverting funds raised from their chapters in universities of United States in the name of education, charity and development to communist and naxal activities.
Another activist, the Booker prize winner, Arundhati Roy, whose writings on Gujarat riots have been found to be full of fabricated lies, wants us to believe that “The Parliament attack case is full of fabricated stories and evidence”. Her own track record reveals her separatist, anti-national leanings. She has been maligning India as invader of Kashmir and north-east in her international talks and had campaigned for the Delhi University Professor SAR Geelani, an accused in the attack on Parliament who on acquittal was fast to proclaim that he would continue to fight for the cause of Kashmir . Owing to her Christian upbringing, Roy borrows heavily from the international Church ideology of perceiving India as not a single nation but as multiple nations belonging to the many indigenous peoples. In her opinion Kashmir and north-east do not belong to India and have been illegally occupied by India .
Medha Patkar , whose Narmada Bachao Andolan began with the noble motive of ensuring proper rehabilitation of those displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Project, seems to have lost direction and reduced into a foreign mole with a one-point agenda of ensuring that the implementation of the project and the construction of the dam, which is seen as an important means for India’s progress, is stopped. Patkar, against whom allegations of illegal activities in the name of supporting the dam displaced and illegally availing foreign funds have been made, has also joined the rhetoric for Afzal’s clemency saying that death sentence to Afzal was a reflection of “terrorism by the establishment”. Patkar exposed the skewed, strangely narrow mentality of her creed when she said, “The so-called secular Government at the Centre should consider the clemency appeal”. What has secularism got to do with it? Does secularism imply that clemency be shown towards a terrorist who has committed the most heinous crime just because he belongs to the minority community? The communal mentality of the supposedly secular brigade to which Patkar belongs does not permit her to think beyond secular and communal, to think in the interest of the nation. Her perverted ideology prevents her from judging neutrally and compels her to perceive and project every issue as either secular or communal. In the eyes of the law, a terrorist is a terrorist and not a Muslim or a Hindu.
The civil rights activist Nandita Haksar is making a case for Afzal by wanting the nation to believe that “We Haven’t Even Heard Afzal’s Story”. Ms. Haksar, we do not need to hear Afzal’s story. We trust our judiciary to have done that and to have given a fair verdict. We would much rather hear the stories of the families of our security men who sacrificed their lives for the honour of their nation, an emotion that is of course alien to the likes of Haksar. Haksar writes, “Can the collective conscience of our people be satisfied if a fellow citizen is hanged without having a chance to defend himself? We have not even had a chance to hear Afzal’s story. Hanging Mohammad Afzal will only be a blot on our democracy.” As the Supreme Court has very correctly put it, “the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if capital punishment is awarded to the offender.” The collective conscience of our people is with the innocent victims of terrorism and with our valorous defence and security personnel who endanger their lives so that we can live in peace. The collective conscience of our people is with those who never seem to matter to the so-called social activists. None of these so-called activists were in sight when terrible bomb blasts took innocent lives in Delhi , Varanasi or Mumbai. For the activists in India , the common man, the victim of terrorism apparently is not human; or if he is, then he is not entitled to any rights unless he belongs to a religious minority community. For them human rights are reserved for the religious minorities, the basic qualification to have the social activists on one’s side is that one should be a Muslim or a Christian. With this major qualification on one’s side, it does not matter if one is guilty of heinous unpardonable crime, his “human” rights will be defended even though he might have impinged upon the basic rights of many innocent men and women. Ish Gangania, sub-editor of Apeksha, a quarterly Hindi magazine from Delhi, and again a so-called “social activist” has quoted Haksar as having advocated in a conference organized by “All India Committee Against Death Penalty” at the Constitutional Club, New Delhi on May 21, 2004, “At individual level capital punishment must be given to the persons like George Bush, the president of USA, Narendra Modi – the chief minister of Gujarat, responsible for the massive massacres and Dara Singh – the killer of a German missionary – priest Graham Steins in Orissa a crime against humanity .” Needless to say, in these cases Haksar does not feel the need to hear the other side of the story and can afford to be judgmental without trial as the alleged crimes were committed against Muslims and Christians.
Haksar, a Supreme Court lawyer, had earlier defended SAR Geelani, another accused in the attack on Parliament and is married to Sebastian Hongray, an activist of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), Issac-Muviah group, a separatist group in the north-east working for the liberation of Nagaland. Thus the separatist, anti-national emotion runs in the family.
When the people of India , across the length and breadth, had appealed to Mahatma Gandhi to intercede and plead with the British Government for remission of Bhagat Singh’s death sentence, Gandhiji had rejected the plea of the masses, pointing out that there could not be any compromise with violence as a means, even for a lofty end. In the light of this historical fact, the open letter to President A P J Abdul Kalam by Bhagat Singh’s nephew, Professor Jagmohan Singh, and renowned filmmaker, peace activist Anand Patwardhan who is also a sympathizer of violent naxalites, to commute the death sentence of Afzal Guru, a traitor, saying that, “our country can honour Mahatma Gandhi and Shaheed Bhagat Singh by doing away with the death penalty altogether as there are many valid grounds for this,” is grossly unjust to the principles the two great men lived and died for. It is not at all surprising that the Congress, which has dumped the Mahatma’s principles and turned him into a poster boy, has allowed one of its Chief Ministers to appeal for compromise with violence and terrorism.
However, it is indeed very shocking that the noted Gandhian, Nirmala Deshpande, has also joined the plea for clemency for a terrorist while her guru had refused to plead even for a patriot. Past experiences confirm an interesting fact relating to this creed of activists, which is that they are most prone to receiving international awards. There are many known and unknown genuine social workers in our country who are toiling day in and day out for uplifting the society, who are not media seekers, who do not sit on useless dharnas but who actually work for and with the society in a constructive manner, to integrate all sections of the society rather than dividing the nation on the basis of class, caste and religion, instigating hatred, violence and separatism. These genuine godlike men and women, who sacrifice their all for the nation and its society, never seem to feature among the contenders for awards of international fame. The awards always go to the pro-minority, anti-Hindu, pseudo-secular social activists. Obviously international fame and awards act as bait and reward from the masters, a means of compensation and as inspiration for future endeavours for the activists. The objectives of the award giving agencies are definitely not pious. It would be unfair to undermine the intelligence and the intellect of these well-educated, high profile people who have earned name and fame, carved a position for themselves in the society, by right or wrong means. We would be gravely mistaken if we consider them to be naïve, uninformed or misled. With the kind of stature and exposure they enjoy, it would be grossly unjust to allow them the benefit of ignorance. They are not into politics, so unlike Congress and the other pseudo-secular political parties, they do not have to cater to vote-bank politics of minority appeasement. Thus, their support for the wrong and opposition to the right can be attributed only to malafide intentions. They are obviously sold out to fame, awards and pecuniary benefits that come from abroad. These activists have their counterparts in the media too. A prominent section of the media, both national and international, especially in the English language, which, like its activist friends, seems to be sold out and owing loyalty to some powers from abroad, is always eager to harbour and promote anti-national sentiment and project these activists as heroes. This nexus between the media and the activists is dangerous as it intentionally misleads the entire nation.
These sympathizers of the separatists and anti-national elements lend moral and verbal support to the inhuman terrorists and naxalites who have taken thousands of innocent lives and project our brave defence and security personnel, who endanger and sacrifice their lives for the sake of millions everyday, as barbarians. They demoralize the nation, the defence and the civil population alike. They have no regard for the establishment and the country’s judicial and legal systems. Though they keep harping on “democracy”, they have little faith or regard for it. Their loyalties are definitely not towards the nation and they should, without any hesitation, be perceived and projected as what they truly are “traitors”.
They are the elite, sophisticated extensions of terrorism, the B-team of terrorists, who ensure that separatist feelings are nurtured, the terrorists are glorified and the nation suffers. It is high time that the nation wakes up to the reality, sees the wolves hidden in the sheepskins and dumps these sham activists. India can do much better without them.