PM Modi insults Chidambaram at election rally, silent on Chinmayanand & Pragya Thakur

The Prime Minister exhibits selective memory and selective outrage time and again. He tweets when a cricketer injures his ankle but not a word escapes his mouth when Indians are killed in Christchurch

PM Narendra Modi (PTI file photo)
PM Narendra Modi (PTI file photo)

Sanjukta Basu

At a recent election rally in poll bound Jharkhand, the Prime Minister said, “Those who thought they are above law and above courts of the country are now approaching courts praying bail; some people have already gone inside (jail) which is their rightful place.”

It has been assumed that it was a dig at Ex-Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and that should make every Indian angry. Angry because the nation’s Prime Minister is a petty man who resorts to the cheapest level of politics and takes shameful jibes at a veteran political leader of the opposition.

N. Ram, veteran journalist and Chairman of The Hindu Group of Publications recently said in Chennai that a “monstrous injustice” has been done to former Union Minister P. Chidambaram by sending him to jail despite the fact that there is no material evidence against him in the INX Media case other than the statement of the “murder accused” (Indrani and Peter Mukherjea), reported The Hindu.

Be that as may, as a law-abiding citizen, Chidambaram will have to go through the legal test. At the same time, following the principle ‘presumed innocent till proven guilty’ Chidambaram has the right to be treated with respect and dignity now and even beyond. He also has the fundamental right to seek legal recourse available to him – a bail or anticipatory bail.

If the prime minister claims that Chidambaram’s true place is in jail, just because he has been taken in custody, then we must ask what is the true place of terror accused Pragya Thakur who also spent many years in jail? Does it not mean that Thakur’s true place was in jail? And if it was so, then why was she given a Lok Sabha ticket by the Bhartiya Janata Party and airlifted from jail to Parliament?

Accused of being involved in the Malegaon bomb blast, charges were framed against Pragya Thakur and others in October 2018 under Sections 16 (committing terrorist act) and 18 (conspiring to commit terrorist act) of the UAPA, and under the IPC for murder, criminal conspiracy and promoting enmity between communities and the case is in trial stage.

Thakur too has made several rounds of the court seeking bail. The MP had also repeatedly made petitions seeking exemption from weekly appearance at the Court which has been rejected.

The Prime Minister should clarify if seeking bail and being in custody makes Chidambaram a subject of public insult and chest beating by him, then what does a terror accused bring for him on the table?

Luckily, we need not wait for Modi to clarify (not that he has ever given any reply to any questions) we already know that Pragya Thakur brings sympathy votes and victimhood narrative on the table for the BJP. When she was arrested BJP played victim and claimed it was political vendetta. But Chidambaram’s arrest is not vendetta?

It is unbecoming of a Prime Minister to talk about a matter that is before the judiciary unless facts are proven. As the leader of the whole nation, and not just one party or its supporters, the PM should treat every citizen with equal dignity without any malice and let courts do their job.

Modi however time and again has spoken of some very random and trivial individual cases in his election rallies. A certain obscure BJP supporter from Bengal, who was arrested for a social media post against Mamata Banerjee, became the PM’s talking point at a Kolkata rally.

Never mind the hundreds arrested for social media posts against Modi and UP Chief Minister Ajay Bisht.

Modi today is silent on the plight of the Shahjahanpur Law student who has accused of rape and sexual harassment against BJP leader Chinmayanand, even as she makes a desperate call that she would perhaps have to die to get an FIR registered. He also stayed silent on several mob lynching cases.

Modi has no prime ministerial protocol as to when and for whom would he speak up, on what issues he would address the nation, which are the profiles of leaders he would hug, which are the tragedies on which he would express sympathy and so on.

Take for one, the five Indians who were killed in the Christchurch attack in New Zealand. Modi did not make one tweet expressing sympathy. All five were presumably Muslims, because the attack was at a mosque.

Modi often tweets when Indian cricketers hurt their ankles.

The Modi God works in mysterious ways, you would never know his apar leela. On a more serious note, this is a page from the fascist’s rule book.

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Published: 20 Sep 2019, 8:40 PM