Ninan is in a sour mood. His weekend column is part anger and part anguish. He has valid points. But, the problem is that we do not seem to be able to know the truth. For example, I saw this story in Times of India (ht Anand Ranganathan’s Twitter). Even UPA has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in 2013 on ‘Urban Naxals’.
Also, an article that Mr. Ajit Doval, the current National Security Adviser had written in 2010 on this issue (ht: Rajeev Mantri) is well worth the read.
On lynch mobs, here is a message I got from ‘Swarajya’:
Morning, dear reader.
Allow me to wish you a delightful celebration of little Krishna’s birthday today! We hope you are able to mark the occasion with the all grandeur and warmth – just like how our families have always done!
I’m writing to bring two articles to your notice. The first is from our ace reporter Swati Goel Sharma. Swati travelled to Alwar to speak to dozens of farmers and villagers about how cattle theft has ruined lives there. For years ‘gau rakshaks’ have tried to stop ‘beef’ smugglers from stealing their livelihood – i.e cattle.
The second article is by Arihant Pawariya. In this neatly written polemic he has described how it has become possible to totally ignore how cattle smugglers are destroying livelihoods in a rural setting such as Alwar. For the English media, cattle smuggling related lynchings are the only dimension. Lynchings are absolutely unacceptable but what kind of discourse is it to ignore the destruction of hundreds of farmers’ livelihoods?
I have read both the articles linked above. They do convey a picture. The media and anti-cow vigilantes have whipped up such frenzy, anguish and anger at the death of cow-smugglers that those who depend on their cows for livelihoods now wonder what wrong that they did to lose their cows, to be branded lynch-mobs and to see all State munificence showered on cow smugglers who are law-breakers.
The ruling party in Haryana and Rajasthan may pay a price for their actions both ways. They will lose their supporters without gaining anything in return because the goal is exactly that.
Sometimes, the English-language media types talk to each other and reinforce each other and they may not even realise that their own story is coming back and not some new evidence or information!
Similarly, on the Right, many pro-Modi supporters may be ignoring or rationalising certain behaviour that they would have jumped at, had it been done by the Congress. Indeed, some think that my blog post, ‘Demonetisation Update No. 39’ is Exhibit A in this regard!
Rahul Gandhi criticises the Government’s handling of Doklam and when asked how he would have done it differently, says he does not have all the information. So, how? See this Edit in BS.
Ultimately, columns such as Ninan’s are needed to ensure a modicum of responsibility and accountability on the part of the Government. If it cannot satisfy the Supreme Court that it has a solid case against the activists it has arrested, it will be embarrassing and a serious reinforcement of the (thus far, politically motivated) claims that there are latent dictatorial and authoritarian tendencies.