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Look, who's talking!

Look, who's talking!

Author: Balbir K Punj
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: March 20, 2002

Introduction: Balbir K Punj on Cong's 'Ban VHP' demand

"Ban VHP and Bajrang Dal," screamed the "Secular Brigade" (read the Congress, Communist and Communalist combine) for having stormed the Orissa Assembly building on Saturday last. The Marxists and Congress tried to equate the Orissa incident with the December 13 terrorist attack on Parliament and the earlier attack on the J&K Legislative Assembly in October.

The import of their argument was that those who stormed the Orissa Assembly were no different from the Pak-trained terrorists. And, by implication, they should be dealt with in a similar fashion by the authorities. They, however, overlooked the fact the 500-strong mob was mostly unarmed and their purpose was seemingly directed at stirring confusion. Vandalism, even though condemnable, could not be equated with terrorism.

If those who stormed the Orissa Assembly in 2002 are to be treated as terrorists, then what about those who had done so in 1964 and 1978? Agitating students with Leftist leanings had forced into the State Assembly in 1964 when Biren Mitra headed a Congress Government. They had not only seized control of the building from outside but trooped inside to occupy Treasury benches and the Speaker's Chair.

In 1978, soon after Indira Gandhi was arrested by Janata Party Government headed by Morarji Desai, Congress activists stormed the Orissa Legislative Assembly. At that time Nilamani Routray of Janata Party was the Chief Minister. No Congress leader worth his salt, much less Indira Gandhi herself, protested or disowned the cadres who had damaged the institution of democracy. Recall also how the Congress leadership later rewarded two of its men who sought to hijack an Indian Airlines plane in the same year to protest against the arrest of Indira Gandhi. They were offered MLA tickets. How does one reconcile the Congress and Communist behaviour on this count with their present posturing? Is it not a case of Chor machaye Shor?

Contrast it with the reaction of the BJP leadership. Expressing his deep dissatisfaction, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Rajya Sabha on Monday said: "Main marjana pasand karunga... (I would prefer to die before identifying myself as the leader of such people)". This was in response to the slogans, "Long live Vajpayee" raised by the attacking mob.

In Lok Sabha, Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani joined the entire House in condemning the vandalisation of Orissa Assembly. "When Parliament was attacked on December 13," he said, "I felt angry. When Orissa House was vandalised on Saturday, I felt ashamed." Recalling his association with RSS since his childhood days, he termed the incident as utterly unjustified. Such responses are perfectly in tune with their long impeccable track record and dedication to parliamentary democracy.

Not surprisingly, the protests of Congress and Communists leaders will appear hollow and devoid of sincerity. Even though they are second to none in swearing by the democracy, their past betrays little faith in civil society. One might recall how goons of Youth Congress under Sanjay Gandhi tried to disrupt the proceedings of Shah Commission set up to go into the Emergency Excesses. The rabid Communists are masters of such terror techniques globally. Democracy is a process of dialogue and accommodation - things Communists have no respect for, expect under compulsion of circumstances.

(The writer is a BJP MP)
 


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