Assault on NGOs
There have always been in this country good NGOs and shady NGOs. But the kind of onslaught one has seen on all NGOs during the last six years is unprecedented. The first thing that this Government did was to harass
NGOs like Green Peace, Amnesty India, Oxfam and CARITAS, which were perceived to be anti-BJP because of their international, liberal and secular links. Then it turned its attention to smaller, Indian NGOs and issued a fatwa that they must prove their loyalty to the Government first before expecting any grants. Even theatre groups were required to put up plays on PM’s pet projects and Government propaganda and produce videos and proof that they were staged in specific places to become eligible for government aid.
At the same time the Government went out on a limb to fund NGOs it perceived to be friendly or those which were affiliated to the RSS. The news report that nearly 800 NGOs affiliated to the RSS have been the primary beneficiaries of Government’s relief aid post-lockdown did not therefore come as a surprise.
The idea seems to be to build up unabashedly pro-Government NGOs and beef them up for propaganda. But all the auditing, stringent action and threats against NGOs do not seem to have any effect on dubious NGOs defrauding the public in times of coronavirus. Perhaps the Government is not interested in safeguarding the people from them?
A Supreme Court judge who retired this year provided the other day an extreme example of lawlessness promoted by Government agencies. The police or the National Investigation Agency can pick up a citizen coming out of an ATM booth and accuse him or her of withdrawing money to fund an act of terror. The victim can then be booked under the draconian UAPA Act, under which the agency is given 180 days to file a charge sheet. No bail will be given to the victim during this period and even if the agency fails to file a charge sheet in six months, it can still be given more time by courts or it can book the same victim under another trumped up charge, book the victims again under UAPA and keep him or her under detention for six more months.
The judge, speaking at a webinar, said he did not understand why the Supreme Court has stopped being pro-active in cases of Human Rights violations. But he added that the apex court’s indifference sends out a message to the high courts and subordinate judiciary, which then stop doing their job, stop asking questions, stop evaluating evidence and stop interpreting the law.
Coming from a recently retired SC judge, who was speaking at a webinar, the message is chilling.
A disillusioned Indian
Reading retired IPS officers suggesting prescriptions for repairing the broken police system is becoming increasingly an agonising experience. They seem stuck in an old groove, repeating the same tired formula of giving more powers to the police, enacting more laws and separating the police from the interference and influence of the politicians.
They know very well that politicians and governments will not loosen their control over police. They must also be aware that police does not need more power and more laws. There are far too many laws that the average police- man struggles to remember.
Patram & Dehradunam!
Trust BJP leaders to make a laughing stock of themselves. This week several of them, including party vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and party spokesperson Sambt Patra tweeted, erroneously as it turned out, the picture of a signboard at Dehradun railway station with ostensibly the Sanskrit equivalent of the name as ‘Dehradunam’!
The stupidity of translating a proper name (like trying to translate Donald Trump into Sanskrit) did not occur to these ‘leaders’. But after hogging 90,000 ‘likes’ they must have realized their mistake and deleted the tweets. The false pride in Sanskrit among ‘leaders’ who clearly understand neither Sanskrit nor languages, is comic. Perhaps it is time to call them ‘Patram’ and ‘Vinayam’ in Sanskrit !