Rajnath Singh, Home Minister in the Modi Government, in his speech to the Rajasthan Police Academy at Jaipur, reminded cops that while he had been the CM of Uttar Pradesh, he had assured cops that they could ‘tackle and eliminate Maoists’, without any worries about questions asked, since he as CM would shield UP police officers from having to face the NHRC! He assured that now, as Home Minister, he would do the same. He described the questions asked by Human Rights Commissions as ‘harassment’ of the police.
If the Home Minister of the country describes ‘human rights’ and civil liberties as a minor inconvenience and obstacle, he is openly calling upon cops to commit murder and massacre. Civil liberties and rights are mandated by the Constitution of India. The Home Minister is showing his open contempt for India’s Constitution, and ironically he does so in the name of ‘protecting the nation’!
Police and security forces treat ‘Maoist’ as code for ‘adivasi’ or dalit. Rajnath recounts his days as UP CM as a model, let us recall what that model meant. When Rajnath Singh was UP Chief Minister, on 9th March 2001, UP cops shot dead 16 people, mostly agricultural labourers and 2 schoolboys, all Dalits or adivasis, in Madihan, Bhawanipur, eastern UP. One of the 2 schoolboys was in Class VIII and the other in Class IX. The massacre was claimed to be an ‘encounter’ with Maoists. The truth was that the villagers of Madihan were sleeping after a feast celebrating the gauna ritual of the son of one of the villagers.
In Chhattisgarh, similarly, security forces routinely massacre adivasi villagers gathered for the Bija Pandum harvest festival. The Kottaguda-Rajpenta-Sarkeguda massacre of 2012 in Bastar was one such massacre, in which the CRPF shot dead 17 people, including 7 children, including a 10 year old boy and a 12 year old girl.
Assured that CMs and Home Ministers will shield them from being accountable to Human Rights Commissions, cops rape and kill in custody: all they have to do is declare that the victims are ‘Maoists’ or ‘Naxalites’! The current Bastar IG, SR Kalluri, is accused of having raped Ledha Bai in custody, while another top cop Ankit Garg raped Soni Sori in custody.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Tokyo today, spoke as though he were a PM of his dream Hindu Rashtra, not of a secular democratic India. He commented that “secular friends” would kick up a fuss and TV debates over his gifting a copy of the Bhagvad Gita to Japanese Emperor Akihito. By making the comment, he himself marked the Gita as the property of Hindus alone, rather than part of India’s own diverse cultural legacy. His own choice of the Gita as a gift and his comments on top of it, are a calculated insult to India’s secularism and diversity.
How can the PM of India mock at and refer to secular people as ‘they’? As PM, he himself is duty bound to uphold and protect the constitution of India, a sovereign socialist secular and democratic republic – and yet he openly mocks at secularism, and his Home Minister openly mocks at Constitutionally mandated democratic rights!
Worse, speaking in a public gathering in Tokyo on climate change, he used a communal ‘cow-slaughter’ analogy to caution against exploiting nature. He said, “At best you have the right to milk nature. You can milk a cow, but cannot kill the cow.” For Modi, climate change also is a topic that can be communalized – even as his Government rushes through environmental ‘clearances’ of forest land and fertile land, all to benefit corporate and real estate sharks, grabbing this land from adivasis and peasants. ‘Building infrastructure to combat Maoism’ is the latest excuse to justify the grab of forest land.
When Modi says ‘no red tape only red carpet, it isn’t only for Japanese investment. He is telling corporations and MNCs that environmental clearances and so on are mere ‘red tape’ and he will sweep all this aside to spread the red carpet for corporations! Similarly of course, his Home Minister says that human rights of adivasis and Dalits are mere ‘red tape’ that he will ‘take care of’, so that cops can shed blood with impunity, so that a red carpet can be spread in forest areas for the corporations!
Modi also told college girls in Tokyo that “only in India God is conceptualized as a woman” and that “in the Hindu pantheon, Saraswati is education minister, Lakshmi finance minister and Annapurna the Food minister.” The irony of course is that in India, women are saying loud and clear that they do not want to be treated as Goddesses, chained to a pedestal, they are demanding equal rights and liberties as human beings.