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Protecting Brij Bhushan Singh, Ajay Mishra? BJP rulers consider some criminals 'patriotic'

By Sandeep Pandey* 

Seven women wrestlers have filed First Information Report about sexual harassment by Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a six times Member of Parliament and president of the Wrestling Federation of India. One of the survivors who is a minor, thereby invoking the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, has after prolonged protests and accused roaming around freely, mysteriously withdrawn the charges against Singh.
The wrestlers, some of them international medal winning ones, protested on street at Jantar Mantar for over a month only to be disparagingly removed by the police on the day the new Indian Parliament was being inaugurated. The police instead of taking any action against the accused, who was attending the ceremony at new Parliament, filed cases against the wrestlers.
Making an accuse out of a victim is a standard Bhartiya Janata Party government ploy used against dissenting students, farmers, intellectuals, Muslims and Dalits. Sometimes, the target could be totally innocent people whose only fault is that they are in disagreement with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh ideology or don’t fit in the idea of a virtual Hindu Rashtra in general.
When the Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal went to meet the protesting female wrestlers, she was packed inside a police van and removed from the spot. What can be a more egregious incidence of police not allowing a statutory authority from performing his/her duty, a section under law which the police too often use against demonstrators of all kinds.
The manhandling of the wrestlers by police on 28 May when their protest site was also physically wound up from Jantar Mantar has drawn international opprobrium. International Olympic Committee and United World Wrestling have castigated the WFI and Indian authorities. The Hindutva supporters who are too quick to accuse anybody who attempts to highlight the intolerant atmosphere in country today as defaming India should now be asked if the government’s mishandling of female wrestlers’ issue is not grievously harming the reputation of country?
The struggle for justice for wrestlers should also raise the oft repeated larger question of why politicians, including Amit Shah’s son, serve on sports bodies? The sports bodies should be managed by former sportspersons or professionals.
Meanwhile wrestlers have been driven to such desperation that they have threatened to immerse their medals, won at important international sporting events, in Ganga and go on indefinite hunger strike. The government maintains a stoic silence.
What can be expected from Narendra Modi who, in 2018, allowed Professor GD Agrawal aka Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand to die on the 112th of his fast in Haridwar to save Ganga from degradation, after four letters written to the Prime Minister by the legendary scientist-saint? The people who head this government are the most cold and insensitive rulers India has witnessed in a long time.
In the past the intellectuals who returned their government awards in response to shocking incidents like broad daylight killing of independent minded scholar-activists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, Professor MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh were described as pseudo intellectuals or anti-national. We wonder how would the Hindutva brigade now like to describe the protesting wrestlers or the members of 1983 World Cup winning India cricket team, minus Roger Binny, who have come out in support of wrestlers?
BJP used to describe itself as a party with a difference. Today Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, after successfully somehow managing to save themselves from judicial action for overseeing heart rending crimes committed in Gujarat, protect criminals in their party for reasons of political expediency.
So, while MJ Akbar had to swiftly ‘resign’ when faced with charges of sexual harassment, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh continues to enjoy the confidence of Modi-Shah essentially because he holds sway over politics of a region, which includes Ayodhya, important for BJP in Uttar Pradesh.
Compare magnanimity being shown to these criminals with incarceration of extraordinarily intelligent students Umar Khalid or Sharjeel Imam
Similarly, patronage to State Union Home Minister Ajay Mishra Teni and his son has been extended in the past after the son, Ashish Mishra, now out of bail, rode his jeep over farmers protesting upon provocation from the Minister himself, killing four Sikh farmers and a journalist.
Compare the magnanimity being shown to these criminals with continued incarceration of extraordinarily intelligent students like Umar Khalid or Sharjeel Imam or the 12 outstanding citizens who are accused in Bhima Koregaon case, all of whom have been falsely implicated under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, or the revocation of Rahul Gandhi’s membership from the Parliament merely because he cut a joke on the Modi surname.
Why is this so called nationalist party humiliating some of the best citizens of this country and on the other hand protecting criminals on its side? The reason is obvious. The RSS-BJP casts people in only two categories – patriotic or anti-national. So, there are anti-national criminals like Atiq Ahmed or Vikas Dubey who deserved to be killed by shooting on camera or in accident of a police vehicle, respectively, and then there are patriotic criminals like Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and Ajay Mishra Teni.
Slogans like Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao and Khelo India are only for public consumption which can be dispensed with for higher RSS-BJP project of creating a Hindu Rashtra. Women, anyway, don’t matter as they are forbidden from RSS membership.
They can only be part of Rashtriya Sewika Sangh (note the missing ‘Swayam’ prefix to Sewika), meant to serve the religious nationalist patriarchy which is fast sliding towards a monarchy with proper Sengol symbolism as witnessed in the inauguration of new Parliament building.
---
*Magsaysay award winning academic-social activist, general secretary of Socialist Party (India)

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