Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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Modi's belated breach of silence
By Arun Arya
"I am stunned by some of today's news headlines that say: "PM Modi Silences Critics on Rape Cases, 2 Ministers Quit Soon After". The credit for resignations of J&K Industries Minister Chandra Prakash Ganga and Forest Minister Lal Singh, and arrest of Kuldeep Singh Sengar, the main accused in the Unnao rape case, goes to the people of India, not PM Modi.

Had PM Modi taken cognizance of the Kathua rape and murder case when it occurred in January and the two ministers participated in the Hindu Ekta Manch in favour of accused, and acted against them, I would have saluted him. When BJP ministers were continuously interfering in the investigations and investigations, the team changed several times, had he taken action, I would have saluted him.

It was because of their ministers' continued interference in investigations that advocate Deepika Singh Rajawat had to file a PIL in the Jammu High Court to request a court monitored investigation. It was after court's interventions that those ministers could not interfere much. Had he intervened at that stage, I would have saluted him. In that case Deepika wouldn't have to file the PIL. Then the Jammu Bar Association started threatening Deepika from contesting the case. That was widely covered by the media. The leading members of the Jammu Bar Association are affiliated with the BJP. Had he asked them to stop and let Deepika do her job without interference, I would have saluted him.

Senior Superintendent of Police (Crime Branch) Ramesh Kumar Jalla and his team had to face several hurdles in doing a free and fair investigation. They did a fair investigation despite not being free from pressures. Had he intervened at that stage and let the investigation team do its job in a free manner, I would have saluted.

Now that all the accused in Kathua case have been arrested and a detailed charge sheet filed, and it is up to courts to judge the matter, what does he mean by saying that none of the guilty in the crime would be spared? They have already been arrested and put in jail. I would have still given him some credit if those ministers had been "dismissed" from the cabinet. But no, they were given the respectful exit through their "resignations".

In the Unnao case, the UP government made their best efforts till the end to protect the main accused, Kuldeep Singh Sengar. The district police worked in collusion with accused Sengar to kill the rape victim's father in police custody. Even the attempt of suicide by the rape victim in front of Chief Minister's residence woke up the PM. He maintained a studied silence in the hope that this too shall pass. But some enlightened citizens and lawyers filed a PIL in the Allahabad High Court which ordered his arrest. CBI arrested him after court's order. Had the PM intervened after the victim girl's attempted suicide, her father would be live today. What does PM Modi mean when he says no guilty person will be spared when the all the accused have already been arrested?

So, there is absolutely no credit whatsoever that can be given to PM Modi. It is people's power, their outrage expressed through social media and their coming on streets that forced the PM to speak. What value are his words when all actions were already taken, despite the interference and connivance of his administration?"

(The author is an ex IAS officer of UP cadre who currently works with the World Bank.)

News Updated at : Monday, April 16, 2018
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