Shaheen Bagh

Who’s afraid of “Lobby of Six”? questions Gogoi; Puts nation on alert

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

It’s the last time readers you would hear about it. So I want you to be serious. Ranjan Gogoi, former Chief Justice of India and now a member of the Rajya Sabha, has said that there is a “Lobby of Six” which controls our judiciary by maligning them.  You could make it a fun exercise. Or if you are serious, reflect how our system is compromised.

Three names immediately spring to my mind as suspects: Prashant Bhushan, Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Singhvi.  They opposed tooth and nail matters of national importance, such as Rafale, Ram Temple, Article 370, EVM, Loya judge case etc in varying degrees, individually or collectively.  Remember the names who wanted an “impeachment” motion against then CJI Deepak Misra? A few judges too cross my mind for some strange verdicts. But I better not spell out my hunch.

( Or it could be that Gogoi might be hinting at a completely different set who work behind the scenes. So folks, send in your choice of “Lobby of Six” on my twitter or facebook handle.  Let this issue hang in our public discourse. For your newspapers are unlikely to give it wind. They have already dug up trenches to bury Gogoi’s views. I would follow up this pieces with due credit to your credible hunches).  

Gogoi says that this “Lobby of Six” took recourse to “maligning” to control judiciary.  You only “malign” through propaganda. And propaganda is best managed by media. This is rather easy. I remember a piece I wrote when a “sexual harassment” case was popped up against Gogoi last year.  Three websites with Leftist bent–The Wire, Scroll and Caravan—made a coordinated attack. They appeared hand-in-gloves with the forces who wanted to malign our judiciary. My piece then had tried to connect the dots. Read it and see if you agree with my deductions.

The Indian Express and The Hindu are two other national dailies which are more than suspects, in my humble opinion.  The judges and advocates they have in their rosters as guest columnists/rent-a-byte individuals, all have a bent towards a particular ideology.  Refer to the pages of these two newspapers when a “sexual impropriety” charge was made against Gogoi last April. Or the recent spate of articles they have had against Gogoi’s nomination in Rajya Sabha.  That Gogoi has now chosen to speak to Times of India, and not Express and The Hindu, carries its own message. Or it could be that Express and the Hindu didn’t approach Gogoi in the first place. The latter is worse: for the gold-standard in journalism is to hear both sides of story. Don’t pronounce someone guilty unless you’ve heard him.

Be that as it may, do read Gogoi’s interview in Times of India. He makes some pertinent points which deserve to be a part of the collective memory of we the citizens who unfortunately are also readers of a few disgraceful newspapers. As per the supposed perks on being a Rajya Sabha member, Gogoi puts forth the same arguments I had questioned Left-Liberals on in recent days.

Gogoi says that Ayodhya was a unanimous verdict by a bench of five judges. So all other were compromised? Rafale too was a unanimous verdict. So the other sitting judges were also compromised? Isn’t it a slur on their integrity? Gogoi also took on his critics who said he practiced “sealed cover” jurisprudence. “Should I have made public details on Rafale”? Pakistan would’ve laughed its guts out. Why was this bunch silent when the judiciary asked for sealed cover report on “2G scam”. Or when now the Supreme Court has asked for “sealed cover” report on Shaheen Bagh?

Strong words. And a bit of humour from his ex-Lordship: “I never was, never am and never will be afraid of anyone’s opinion, except my wife.”

Hopefully, Gogoi’s interview would give teeth to “independent” voices within the judiciary.  There is no reason to buckle down to this “Lobby of Six” or anyone else. You have nobody but your conscience to be answerable to.

(Post script: As to how our judiciary functions, listen to the voice of a fearless amongst us, legal hawk Vibhor Anand, who had penned for us a few pieces in the past).

Two moves which could send chill down the spine of anti-India forces: Loving it!

(This is a reprint of NewsBred).

The rule of law has taken two extraordinary steps this week which should send a chill down the spine of forces hell-bent on breaking up India on religious lines.

The first one concerns media which clearly works on partisan political lines, if not to the smell of funds which they could be receiving from Indian and foreign sources. The other involves the alleged anti-CAA violence perpetrators in Uttar Pradesh who have been hung out to dry in public by the state government.

The Information and Broadcasting ministry banned two Malayalam channels for 48 hours, beginning 5.30 p.m today (The ban was subsequently lifted this morning following appeals by the two channels).  The two channels are Media One and Asianet News. Media One is owned by a company which is backed by Jamaat-e-Islami. Asianet News is indirectly owned by BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar.  (So please cut out the notion that the Centre is discriminating on partisan lines).

The I & B Ministry’s charge against Media One read: “The anchor/correspondent saying that it seems the vandals and police are hands in glove (on Delhi violence)…and the government’s cold-shouldered approach towards anti-CAA protesters is the main reason behind ongoing protests in the national capital.”

On Asianet News, the Ministry cited similar instances of anchor/correspondent claiming “Centre gave silent consent for the violence”; and that the “violence turned communal after a group of Hindu people chanted Jai Shri Ram.”

Centre had to return to its trenches against NDTV for a similar ban in 2016 on fake news after the Channel knocked the doors of Supreme Court. The present move seems to convey Centre’s intent to check unbridled “press freedom.” A few newspapers too, with their glaring bias and prejudice, promote ill-will and communal hatred. They too deserve be booked.

The second instance, which concerns the CAA protestors and the UP government, is sensational. The Yogi Adityanath government has put up big banners at four prominent junctions of Lucknow, the Capital, which puts the faces, names and addresses of 28 arsonists booked for anti-CAA violence last December. These people have claimed it puts them and their families at risk.  And that the charges against them haven’t been proved. The UP government says it’s not a conviction rather a recovery notice made public.

I have a feeling it’s the start of Big Brother striking back. The gloves could be off. Media had crossed the threshold where it could hide behind the garb of “freedom of press.” The “mob-street” strategy of political, colonial and Islamist forces could now be paid in the same coin. You wanted to take the battle in your hand; avoid the Courts? Go ahead. Governemnt would meet you with the guerilla tactics of its own. Tomorrow, when you don’t want to show your papers—“Kaagaz nahin dekhaenge”—your mobile networks could go out of coverage area. Your bank accounts could be suspended. You would then remember Indian courts–and find your “kaagaz”–for good reasons.

Who knows, judiciary in this country could be carrying grouse of its own. This “mafia” all too often drags them in the mud. One day, the Chief Justice of India is embarrassed on sexual harassment charge. Other day, an innocuous praise of PM Modi makes a judge an object of hatred amongst Liberal media. At other times, social activists say they find judiciary redundant. Impeachment moves are made against the Chief Justice of India. When judiciary offers mediation to Shaheen Bagh protestors, the latter evinces no interest. Its plea not to occupy public places falls on deaf ears. No wonder, the judiciary is now taking its own sweet time on anti-CAA petitions. It has said it would settle Sabrimala protest first and then worry about CAA. Meanwhile, the government would roll its own National Population Register (NPR) process next month.

It apparently escaped the notice of anti-Modi forces that a person who could rearrange the decades-old Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir won’t be cowed down by pressure tactics. A man who could send the armed forces to border in an eye-to-eye showdown for months in Doklam, won’t be cowed down. A man who could do a surgical strike inside the Pakistani territory, can’t be cowed down. A man who could defy the threat of US sanctions against buying S-400 missile system from Russia, can’t be cowed down.

So Left-Liberals, dub him the way you prefer. Take steroids of Islamist forces such as Iran and Turkey. Inject the poison of United Nations Human Rights Council or European Union. The man doesn’t give a fig. A billion behind him don’t give a fig either.

4 Forces which BJP must confront—or be ready to lose India they have in mind

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Forces which oppose Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would feel they now have a gameplan in the wake of its’ crushing defeat in the Delhi assembly elections.

These anti-BJP forces could easily be clubbed as (a) opposing political parties; (b) Left-Liberal controlled propaganda media; (c) Indian Muslims; and (d) urban youth. More or less these four forces would feel empowered now.

Political opponents which fear BJP’s hegemony—and nearly all of them do—are the hyenas who think they could now hunt the lion named BJP down. They won’t take recourse to Parliament or judiciary but would look to resist Centre on the most inane of legislations on their turf. They would put women and children in front. They would look to stall or breakdown India’s federal structure and create anarchy.

The time-tested proven method of George Soros-led Liberal forces is to force a showdown with police on streets, show the State impotent, build support in captive media and when the state strikes back, build the pressure through global colonial, imperial forces to bear down on the hapless country.

Propaganda mainstream media, who fatten themselves on their political, religious and colonial masters, would be on steroids now. They would be more vitriolic and vicious. This despicable media hasn’t found one act of Arvin Kejriwal—or of Ashok Gehlot/Kamal Nath—in the last few years worthy of criticism. NOT ONE ACT! Even though AAP operates right under it nose in the Capital. It must tell you a thing or two about their “neutrality.”

Indian Muslims have long enjoyed entitlement in a “secular” nation. Modi’s rise played on their anxiety. With abrogation of Article 370, Triple Talaq Act and Ram Janmabhoomi, they were simmering under the breath. Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) gave them a tool. Propaganda media and political parties fanned it.  Theirs became a cause célèbre. It made headlines around the world. A nondescript lane of Capital was turned into a shrine. Death of a toddler was deemed “Qurbani”.  Secessionist slogans and war-cry of “Azaadi” rent the air. They would now stall your daily life and governance.

Urban youth, particularly students and of elite society, were completely sold off to the Jamia and JNU narrative.  This 20s newbies feel no connection with 370 Article or Ram Janmabhoomi, two issues which have by and large troubled the soul of this nation. It’s the power of the propaganda, and our shambolic education system, that these youths are completely weaned away from the ethos of India.

BJP, and its two engines, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, work under the constraints of the Constitution. They won’t dismiss a Mamata Banerjee or Pinaryi Vijayan government or make Shaheen Bagh protestors run for cover. There won’t be lathi-charge or pellets shots. They do get affected by the negative publicity. The headlines and images which are multiplied by international media leave them passive.

In view of the mounting challenge from these four opposing forces, BJP would be foolish to believe it would just go away. These four forces would “create” issues to cause disruptions. There is no escaping them. You can’t wish them away, close your eyes and feel it’s disappeared.  They are in your face. Sharks have tasted blood in the water. You better deal with it or squander everything you’ve gained in the last few years.  There is a new game in the town. It’s called ANARCHY.

One, BJP shouldn’t be shy of dismissing state governments which promote violence and anarchy or resist their Constitutional obligations. The first litmus test would be at the time of CAA implementation in April against which Punjab and Kerala assemblies have passed resolutions. If they resist its implementation, dismiss them. To hell with niceties or looking for approval from hostile corners.

Two, BJP shouldn’t leave propaganda media to its own devices. Instead, they should try to force them in corner on their omissions and commissions. Fake propaganda spread by them needs to be accountable. Mobilize readers. Have a very active, virile awareness campaign to their manipulations. Drop the velvet gloves. Spread the world. You have men and money. Use it to tame the beast.

Indian Muslims must be stripped of their undue entitlement. Have a very serious look at how India could claim to be a secular nation and yet promote minorityism by having separate ministries and funds. Bring on Uniform Civil Code which is an obligation our Constitution has longed for from our lawmakers. Don’t give an inch or treat any group as privileged. Treat them as any other citizen. Law and order is a state subject and if a hostile state government promotes anarchy by prodding the Muslims, deal with them harshly.

Urban youth must be engaged with discussion. There ought to be a mechanism where their issues are listened to and addressed on a fortnightly basis. Engage them. Propaganda media won’t cover it but publish ads, use radio and television, to let the “neutral” public know of government’s keenness to dispel the doubts. Long-term solution of course is change of India’s education system and it won’t happen on its own. It needs be done. The course correction must begin now.

And then finally there is this matter of Hindus who constitute majority in this country. Delhi election results would convey they didn’t stand by BJP. They weren’t upset by “Hinduon se Azaadi” slogans. They weren’t upset by the anarchy on the streets. They weren’t upset by Shaheen Bagh. They weren’t upset that their Hindu brethrens from neighbouring Islamic countries are stopped from having own roof over their head.  Ram Janmabhoomi doesn’t touch them a bit. Nor the sacrifice of our tens of thousands of soldiers in Kashmir. Hindus didn’t stand by BJP in the Delhi elections.

There is also no denying that BJP expected such support from Hindus. That’s why perhaps Shaheen Bagh was allowed to linger as long as it has. That’s why Pakistan was evoked at every public address by an Amit Shah or a Yogi Adityanath. Surely, it has been a miscalculation to bank on their traditional votes.  Hindus are a sloth – and history is a testimony.

BJP doesn’t need to blink against the four inimical forces. It also needs to ramp up its information- disbursement mechanism. It needs to nurture those voices who are laboring under their own passion and “dharma” but could do wonders if sustained with attention and care. As for Hindus, they have been disappointing. They can’t see the threat these four forces are determined to inflict on their existence.  And on India they call their motherland.

 

 

Modi’s churn of silence is taming the beast of protests

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi could well end up taming the beast which hogged the headlines and filled the streets for two months now in protest against a new Citizenship Act.

A seemingly innocuous Act which fast forwards the citizenship process for persecuted minorities of three neighbouring Islamic states of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh was dressed up as one against the Muslims by Modi’s detractors. The propaganda succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

It tapped on the raw anxiety of Indian Muslims who were fed the misinformation the Citizenship Act was the first step towards their disenfranchisement despite various official clarifications.

Political opponents upped the heat by passing resolutions in state assemblies run by them, such as Kerala and Punjab, even though constitutionally Citizenship is a matter which doesn’t fall under their jurisdiction and strictly is a preserve of the Centre.

The Siamese twins of mainstream Indian and Western media fished in the troubled waters with inflammatory headlines. The New York Times wondered if India is becoming a Hindu nation and BBC termed it an anti-Muslim law.

Various cities in the United States staged anti-Citizenship Act protests though there were hardly many Indians discernible in those rallies. A segment of European Union called for a stricture against the Modi government which was withdrawn at the last minute. From United Nations Human Rights office to US senate religious committee, all whipped up a storm.

An Indian Maidan in the making?

A tiny enclave in India’s Capital, Shaheen Bagh bore all the markings of a Maidan of Ukraine or a Tehrir Square of Egypt. It’s the shrine of protests, so to say, well into its eighth week, full of mural arts, revolutionary songs, media briefers, technological deftness to be passed off as spontaneous. It holds the torch to a revolution India never had. This was Modi’s gravest crisis in six years.

Modi has chosen to meet this mushroom of clouds overhead with a churn of silence. He kept his police in the barracks, used a light hand over provocations. People, including his supporters, wondered if he had lost control. Now it appears to be a part of a grand strategy. He always knew the contours of powers, both at home and abroad, at work against him. Now his followers, which are the majority in his country, have been made aware of the gravity. It could lead to consolidation and additions in millions among his supporters.

Rivals are now waking up to Modi’s grand game. They are urging protestors to withdraw and go back home. A leader who was so nuanced in handling Kashmir against international storm, couldn’t have been silent without a reason. They sense a turn in tide. Credible surveys reveal that Modi remains muscularly popular; far from being severely bruised as his opponents had bargained for in the present protests.

Modi’s measures can now be clearly deciphered. On the domestic front, his ministers are linking the protests to a machination by the arch-rivals Pakistan who, unable to whip up support for Kashmir in international arena, are now being linked to causing unrest within India, an insinuation which never fails to get the ire up of a billion-plus people.

Bilateral ties are all which matter

In the world beyond his borders, all that matters is bilateral ties. Modi is yet to hear a move from any of the major nations against the Citizenship Act. The European Union and US Senate and George Soros of the world could make as much noise as they want; the Western press could send its army of correspondents and cameraman to India’s Capital in droves, the  non-state players like NGOs could work its collective noise to a shrill but all of this would materially make no difference to Modi or India’s standing. As long as there are no sanctions; and the majority of his people are behind him, Modi can afford to sit back and let the forces against him play themselves out into a meaningless heap.

Important alignments in Modi’s favour are beginning to emerge. All parties in alliance with him are backing him to the hilt on the Citizenship Act. The Supreme Court is due to take a call on the petitions this month and it’s unlikely to go against the Act.  Shaheen Bagh protests are alienating the rest of the Capital as its causing traffic jams, affecting local business, and rendering schools and hospitals in the area virtually inoperable.

There are now also incriminating videos in public where the prime organizer of Shaheen Bagh was heard hatching plans for India’s northeastern states to secede from the mainland. It has raised the hackles of a nation which has already been severed of its eastern and western arms on the grounds of religion at the stroke of independence seven decades ago.

Politics is not a zero-sum game but Modi is set to harvest a bounty nobody had seen coming out of the present crisis.

 

 

With anti-CAA plank gone, Congress faces its worst crisis in half a century

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

In last 24 hours, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has virtually accused his own party of “orchestrating” the anti-CAA protests. It’s a mortal blow to Congress who were hoping to ride the anti-CAA protests. It’s also of incalculable benefit to the BJP.

In these 24 hours alone, another senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal has struck a blow in the guts of his own party by stating that state governments have no choice but to implement the CAA. To make things worse, historian Ramachandra Guha perceived to be in Congress camp has called out Rahul Gandhi as a “fifth-generation dynast which the young India doesn’t want.”

This is the kind of blow which could bring the Congress edifice crashing down. Not since its 1967 split, Congress has faced a crisis as grave as the present one. Dynasts are up against powerful rebels. It already had marginal credibility on national scene. It’s vote bank Indian Muslims now can’t trust it either. The anti-CAA protests were largely seen being led by Indian Muslims, arguably on the back of Congress-Left support, particularly in the case of students’ protests and Shaheen Bagh sit-ins. All this has now blown up in their face.

Before we look at the nuances, I would ask readers to first consider the following public pronouncements by these men:

JAIRAM RAMESH (senior Congress leader):

“We (Congress) has to revive the culture of internal debate…It has literally vanished.”

“We stood against the CAB in the Lok Sabha…but we didn’t walk out. That’s the important thing.”

“I think the protests you are seeing, it would be wise for the Congress not to be seen to be orchestrating them.”

“I am not so sure whether state governments saying that we will not implement CAA will stand judicial scrutiny.”

“I know that the Kerala government has passed a resolution but it’s a political resolution.”

“Whether a state assembly passing a resolution negating CAA will pass constitutional scrutiny, I’m not sure.”

“We don’t support abrogation of Article 370…but once a decision is taken, you go along with it.”

“I was not part of Mrs. Gandhi as the Congress president. I see her as an interim full-time president.”

“If you look around the Congress party, you will find a large number of people who carry a lot of credibility. But yes, we are not being able to match up to people’s expectations.”

KAPIL SIBAL (Senior Congress leader):

“It would be unconstitutional for state governments to say they will not implement it (CAA).”

“Constitutionally, saying that I won’t implement it is going to be problematic and going to create more difficulties.”

“If the Supreme Court upholds it (CAA), how can you say I won’t implement it.”

“You can’t have a CAA unless you have an NPR and a NRC. How will you have a citizens’ register unless you have a population register.”

Ramachandra Guha, historian (Perceived to speak the language which Congress wants to hear):

“Young India doesn’t want a fifth-generation dynast (Rahul Gandhi).”

“You (Kerala) made the mistake of re-electing Rahul Gandhi…One of the disastrous thing you did was to re-elect Rahul Gandhi to parliament.”

“Narendra Modi’s great advantage is that he is not Rahul Gandhi. He is self-made. He has run a state for 15 years, he has an administrative experience. He is incredibly hard-working and he never takes holidays in Europe.”

“India is becoming more democratic and less feudal, and the Gandhis just don’t realizeth is. You (Sonia Gandhi) are in Delhi, your kingdom is shrinking more and more but still your chamchas (sycophants) are telling you that you are still the badshah.”

All this in the last few dozen hours points to three things: One, internal opposition within Congress is now in an implosion stage; Two, its’ anti-CAA stand is being voiced down from serious credible voices within; Three, Gandhis are being called out as dynasts and internal dissension within the party has vanished.

Why have Ramesh and Sibal rebelled against the party line? Both Ramesh and Sibal are marginalized within the power structure of Congress and are not part of the all-powerful Congress Working Committee (CWC). Shashi Tharoor is also not in the perfumed list but he swallowed his humiliation in silence after being upstaged as Congress leader in the Lok Sabha by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot also dissent too often. Gandhis’ rely on Ahmed Patels, Motilal Vohras, Anand Sharmas and Ghulab Nabi Azads in the CWC; and pulls out loyalists Ashok Gehlot and Kamal Nath for chief ministerships.

The dissenters have chosen their moment well. They have struck down “CAA” in public perception before the Supreme Court moves on it on January 22. This is bound to cheer up BJP/RSS and its’ considerable forces. It would also rise to anger within Indian Muslims who were shown the path of protests through misinformation on which the Congress is now backtracking. Punjab chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh has legitimate reasons to believe he has been stabbed in the back. He couldn’t have got the assembly’s resolution and voting against the CAA without the nudging from the Gandhis. He has been sabotaged, perhaps deliberately, so as nobody gets big enough to replace Gandhis’ at the helm. These were the same Gandhis who were supporting Navjot Singh Sidhu against Amarinder Singh.

Both Ramesh and Sibal know they have acted against the party-line. Both know there could be repercussions. Both don’t have political bases so certainly they can’t swim alone. But both also don’t want to drown with a moribund Congress. They have exacted their revenge. The reverberations are bound to be felt in Maharashtra, if not in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where disgruntled Congress leaders and workers are straining to break free.