Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: P. Chidambaram

Gang of Four

Gang of Four originally meant Jiang Qing, Wang Hongwen, Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan who were powerful during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) in China. Anna Hazare spoke of Gang of Four in UPA government without mentioning names. One of them is P. Chidambaram. Second is likely to be Kapil Sibal. Who are the other two? Some talk of Digvijay Singh and Manish Tewari but they are not ministers.

Whoever they are the Gang of Four has succeeded in diverting attention from corruption. First there was attack on Prashant Bhushan ostensibly for his remarks on Kashmir. Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi did not agree with Prashant Bhushan. Then Arvind Kejriwal joined the august company headed by George Bush of people who were attacked by shoes. Then reports appeared about Kiran Bedi’s travel bills. When the first report appeared Arun Bhatia said Kiran Bedi should sue Indian Express for five crore rupees for defamation and give that money to her trust. However Kiran Bedi did not do that. Swamy Agnivesh accused Arvind Kejriwal of misappropriation. Two core committee members quit. Anna Hazare took the vow of silence.

It was not all doom and gloom for activists. NDTV conferred Indian of the Year Award on Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal.

On 29/10/2011 core committee met in Ghaziabad and decided to continue the fight for Jan Lokpal Bill.

China’s Gang of Four members lost power and went to prison. Anna Hazare and Yashwant Sinha have said that P. Chidambaram should be in jail.

Statehood for Telangana

On 9 December 2009 at 11.30 p.m. P. Chidambaram announced the initiation of process for statehood for Telangana. Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhara Rao, leader of Telangana Rashtra Samiti, called off his fast.
It is unlikely that K. Chandrashekhara Rao wanted to fast unto death for Telangana. There was no need to arrest him when he began fast. After two days he gave up his fast. There was hostile reaction to his giving up of his fast. He blamed the police saying they forced him to end fast and resumed his fast. He reminded me of Dev Anand in Guide who is trapped by circumstances to undertake a fast and dies. The demand for statehood for Telangana had support from students and many others and things went out of control. The announcement by Chidambaram saved KCR.
Next day Non-Telangana MLAs and MPs of Andhra Pradesh protested statehood for Telangana. Many threatened to resign and sent their resignations to party leaders. Some said Hyderabad should not go to Telangana.
When India became independent there were no linguistic states. The demand for Andhra Pradesh led to the formation of linguistic states. When Andhra Pradesh was formed in 1953 Telangana was not part of it and Hyderabad was not its capital. Telangana became part of Andhra Pradesh in 1956. Hyderabad should go to Telangana. There is no justification for making it a Union Territory or capital of both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Comparison with Chandigarh is not justified. Chandigarh is close to the border of Haryana. According to Rajiv-Longowal Accord Chandigarh was to become part of Punjab on 26 January 1986. That was not done.
Congress MLAs who are opposed to statehood for Telangana should have said it when they were asked about it. Instead they authorised Congress High Command to take a decision.
Chandrababu Naidu said he will support a resolution for statehood for Telangana if Congress moves it in the Assembly. Now that a decision has been taken there is no point in blaming others for what happened. In October 2008 he expressed support for statehood for Telangana reversing the policy of Telugu Desam which was opposed to the division of Andhra Pradesh.
The announcement gave a boost to many statehood demands. People from various regions have demanded statehood from time to time. Sometimes the agitations have been violent. There are demands for statehood for Coorg, Vidarbha, Bundelkhand, Harit Pradesh, Poorvanchal, Mithilanchal, Gorkhaland and Bodoland.
Some talk demand for smaller states as opening of Pandora’s box. Some talk of Telangana virus. These reactions are unjustified. Many demands were there for a long time. There is no opposition for division of Uttar Pradesh. Coorg and Gorkhaland are small. West Bengal is opposed to Gorkhaland. Decisions have to be taken on a case by case basis.

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Riots in Punjab

In Vienna, on 24/5/2009, some Sikhs entered a place of prayer and attacked some people, which resulted in death and injury. Whether the place was a gurudwara or temple or something else is a matter of dispute. Whether the people attacked were Sikhs is also a matter of dispute. Some call them Ravidasis and say they are not Sikhs.

The attack was a crime. The attackers should be tried for murder and hanged. Austria should reinstate death penalty.

That day and next day there was violence in Punjab. Trains, buses and cars were burnt. Many buildings were burnt. Many passengers were stranded in railway stations and bus stations in Punbaj and outside Punjab. P. Chidambaram said that in some places curfew was imposed and not enforced as he could see people moving around and it had to enforced.

Riots need to be put down with a firm hand. Nobody has the right to damage public or private property and stop people from travelling. Police persons should be allowed to do their duty. Many times political interference renders police force ineffective. Sometimes even police persons, vehicles and stations are attacked. One police officer who ordered firing to quell a riot had to appear before an enquiry commission. Later he was tried in court and awarded life imprisonment. If he had not fired he and other people might have been killed or wounded and riots could have spread. In Bhiwandi police were soft and two of them were burnt. Those who do their duty should not be punished. In Rome city officials who did not quell riots had to face punishment which could have been death penalty. If there was too much trouble in any city it was flattered. Those who rioted in Punjab need to be punished. Being soft on rioters saying they did not attack other people but burnt vehicles is not acceptable.

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