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Caste, impact on Ayodhya area 'halting' BJP rulers to act against Brij Bhushan Singh

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* 

Finally, the #WrestlersProtest has got international attention. The United World Wrestling (UWW), condemning the treatment and detention of wrestlers and expressing its disappointment over the lack of results of the investigations against Brij Bhushan Singh, accused of sexually harassing women wrestlers, has urged the "relevant authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation."
This was followed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) -- hours after the wrestlers Bajrang Punia (Olympics Bronze, 2021) and Sakshi Malik (Olympics Bronze, 2016) threatened to drop their medals into the Ganga at Haridwar -- seeking an “unbiased, criminal investigation” into the allegations of sexual harassment, underlining: “We urge that the safety and wellbeing of these athletes is duly considered throughout this process and that this investigation will be speedily concluded.”
All this is happening at a time when the government, whose only aim is to protect the accused, who happens to be a powerful politician from Uttar Pradesh with the backing of the Hindutva echo chamber in Ayodhya, is weighing pros and cons of the impact of any action against him.
Surely, it is not such a tough case as it is being made out to be. Many people wonder why the Supreme Court is not acting after it ordered filing of FIR. The first thing after the FIR under the POSCO Act would have been the arrest of the accused politician. But this has not happened. We don't even know whether Singh was ever visited by the Delhi police officials.
Meanwhile, caste factor appears to be playing a crucial role here. We are told that Singh hold sway over the Rajput community in Central-Eastern Uttar Pradesh like Gonda, Bahraich, Faizabad, Balrampur etc., hence the BJP is not interested to act against him. There is also the suggestion that the Jats have taken this case in their hands and they have been mobilised against the BJP.
One does not know how far this is true, but who gave opportunity to the Khap Panchayats to act on behalf of the #wrestlers? When political parties fail to act and the government looks the other way, when sports federations either keep quiet or speak against their own athletes, and when the crooked and corrupt #manuwadi media just asks questions to those who are seeking justice, one can understand the state of #democracy in India, about which our Prime Minister so proudly referring to in Parliament.
Narendra Modi claimed India is the mother of democracy. But the spectacle of police dragging the star sportspersons puts our democracy to shame. Since when has it become a crime to protest? One often hears that in democracy the biggest power is in the hands of the common persons, who has the right to protest, and the governments should listen to them, the media should report about them, and others should express their solidarity.
But is it true of India? The bania media in India has become the official spokesperson of ruling BJP, giving lots of 'advice' and 'gyan' on 'nationalism' and patriotism. So much so that one thug advised the medal winners to leave their jobs, return government money which was given them in award and 'contest' elections and oppose the government.
Does that mean that for opposing any act of the government, we need to be an 'elected' representative? Then what right these media houses have got to condemn Rahul Gandhi and the Congress, who still have more than 12 crore voters voting for them in the 2019 general elections.
Right from the arrogant police officer threatening the athletes with dire consequences, including his justification to kill them if needed, the BJP appears to have become expert in spreading fake news and build a counter narrative for everything. The paid workers of the BJP IT cell spread do this day in and and day out. And the TV prime time shows have become the factories for spreading the fake news.
All this is indeed deliberate. Like the farmers' movement, the government of the day wants to drag on and humiliate the athletes, create a perception in the minds of the people that these people do not care for government support, money and awards. The narrative being spread is: Once you get the awards and support, you don't have the right to complain, particularly about sexual harassment. This argument is being paddled by many, including female members of the Hindutva brigade.
Many are blaming the Supreme Court, saying, one would need to have the Anna Hazare brand of 'Parliament', which took place at the Ramleela Ground in Delhi. But why has this situation arisen? Imagine, if Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister and this had happened? You would have seen the Sangh experts with tearful eyes in the streets blaming Sonia and Rahul Gandhi for everything.
The issue is not about putting all the blame on Brij Bhushan Singh. There has to be fair inquiry, and for this, the accused needs to resign and should be interrogated. There is a need to ask: Why has the police not begun inquiry, or is it waiting for green signal from our honourable Home Minister, who apparently would like to weigh the repercussions of any inquiry around Ayodhya?
Some Rajputs "experts" claim that everybody is conspiring against their castes. The problem with them is, they have a neta like Brij Bhushan Singh to lead them and give them hope. A community which has had such respected leaders like VP Singh, Arjun Singh, Chandra Shekhar, Jaswant Singh, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Digvijay Singh seems to be leaderless at the moment -- a situation most favorable for the opponents.
---
*Human rights defender

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