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Why Modi's Lambasting Of Cow Vigilantes Was Mere Lip Service

08/08/2016 11:57 AM IST | Updated 09/08/2016 8:33 AM IST
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India was ripe for a political change in 2014. The Congress party, over its extended tenure in government, had severely underperformed and remained (and still is) unashamedly apologetic about its misdemeanours while in power. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was an untested alternative at that of point of time, especially on the back of their 49-day rule of Delhi just prior to the 2014 general elections in India. So, the Indian people overwhelmingly voted for the only other "national alternative", the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Tall promises were made about a potential "Modi Sarkar" and the people bought in. Narendra Modi's claim to power was built on two significant pledges. First, he professed to having a "56-inch chest" necessary for fronting a nation such as India. Second, he made a solemn promise to usher in "acchhe din", or good days, for India and all Indians.

More than two years on, Mr Modi and his government have miserably failed on both counts. When I say this, I want to make it clear that I am not a supporter of the Congress, or the Aam Aadmi Party, or of any other political outfit. This appraisal is of the BJP as the current ruling party (and in a majority government).

Through carefully placed words, your message tries to demarcate the "correct" way of retaining communal divisions.

The metaphorical "acchhe din" are as evasive as a Modi reprimand on growing communal tensions in India. For his two year anniversary, Modi claimed that the promise of "acchhe din" had been fulfilled and a lack of any major corruption scandals in the ranks of the Modi led government was proof enough.

With all due respect Mr Modi, the lack of corruption scandals is commendable, but it does not translate into "acchhe din". That's how governments ought to function -- corruption free. So, India has returned to mere "normal din", and that too in relation to one issue only.

Now, let's talk about the famed "56-inch chest".

Honourable Prime Minister of India, you have remained markedly absent as the leader of the nation in taking a meaningful stance against the growing communal tensions within India. To be brutally honest, such tensions seem to have grown under your government. To use a political analogy, you have largely done a "Manmohan Singh" on these issues, respected Sir, especially, towards your own saffron outfit and its affiliated entities.

So it was a bit surprising when recently, for the first time, you chose to denounce the so-called "cow vigilantes" and spoke up for the Dalits and the marginalized. That you chose to publicly speak against this breed of hooligans is worthy of appreciation, but, the message itself came across as half-baked. It came across as a token rebuke uttered by a Prime Minister who perhaps was advised by his media experts to "say something" before it all gets out of hand.

Your castigation, Mr. Modi, of the "self-styled cow vigilantes" is an arbitrary, bracketed tirade towards one creed of criminals. If one was to read between the lines, you continue to remain silent about the bigger outfit of thugs and bigots who propagate such communal crimes and are affiliated to your political party. Your derision does not identify this matter as a law and order issue where citizens are being insulted, injured, and lynched. Instead, through carefully placed words, your message tries to demarcate the "correct" way of retaining communal divisions.

You continue to remain silent about the bigger outfit of thugs and bigots who propagate such communal crimes and are affiliated to your political party.

Mr. Modi, I discard your newfound urge to scold communal miscreants as mere political lip-service. And I have good reason to feel that way. As soon as you got off the stage in Telangana, some trusted media advisor of yours was on a new channel stating that these matters of communal unrest are the responsibility of "state governments" and not the Prime Minister.

You may not have direct responsibility for the enforcement of law and order in every state or territory, Mr. Prime Minister, but you have direct and total responsibility for what goes on in a country that you currently lead. So to merely state an opinion about communal violence is shirking that responsibility, sir.

You must stand up to this prevailing unrest and in no uncertain words inform the thugs and bigots (of any denomination) that no citizen is above the law and anyone who chooses to breach its dictates will have to face judicial punishment, no exceptions. Your words must strongly discredit racial or communal discrimination within India.

Now that is the sort of message befitting of a person with a "56-inch ka seena", sir. And you never know, this may lead to your much publicised "acchhe din"as well.

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