Red in the BJP’s veins, ink in the Congress’s blood

If dereserving a plot meant for weaker sections of society in Karnataka and handing it over to your son is not illegal, just immoral, then, pray, why is the new Maharashtra government and the whole world going for former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s blood and that of his bureaucrats for assigning to themselves and various assorted members of their families prime flats in the Adarsh housing society in Bombay?

I must say I was appalled by my good friend Nitin Gadkari’s justification of corruption in Karnataka by its own Chief Minister Y S Yedyurappa, who seems to have sought a truce with state Governer H R Bhardwaj simply to escape any more flak on this count.

I have heard of one man’s meat being another’s poison but this justification goes much more beyond that. One cannot deny the fact that corruption of any kind is poison to the common man (though it may bring meaty sums to its practitioners) but it is only since the advent of the Bharatiya Janata Party that we have begun to see regular justification of the adage ‘one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter’.

So whose freedom were saffron terrorists like Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Colonel Shrikant Purohit fighting for? While they have killed, maimed and destroyed in near-equal proportion to Islamic terrorists, Gadkari’s predecessors in the BJP would have us believe that these saffron terrorists were national heroes and they should not have been singled out by former ATS chief Hemant Karkare for action, let alone arrested and brought to trial.

The saffronists were all over Rahul Gandhi attacking him with gusto when Wikileaks revealed that he had expressed concern about saffron terrorists as more dangerous than the Islamic ones. But there is little they have been able to say in justification, except cry foul against the government, when it is revealed that the saffron forces are actually planning to incite riots – just sample the conversation recorded between Milind Narvekar, secretary to Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, and their Pune leader, Neelam Gorhe – asking for trucks, buses and shops to be burnt by early morning and highways blocked so that television channels could catch the visuals early and play it through the day (on the day of the Pune bandh on December 28).

I do not agree with Rahul Gandhi’s assessment of saffron terrorism – these saffron terrorists are, after all, homegrown and it is in the hands of the government and the state to nail them and adequately punish them for their crimes. By contrast Islamic terrorism is incited from across the border. And even when there is ample proof – like in the case of the 26/11 attacks – there is little we can do but cry hoarse that Pakistan take action and stop these terrorists from violating Indian territory.

But, yes, if Rahul was referring to the corruption of the Indian Army by these saffron terrorists, I think he was right to be concerned. Because we are, by far, too guarded about Muslims in the Armed Forces and too little concerned about those among the majority community who might indoctrinate innocent minds and wreak havoc within the country. It is possible, after all, for saffron terrorists to infiltrate the Indian Army as it is not for Islamic terrorists to do the same. And, I believe, the Indian Army is an institution that should not be messed around with. It is high time that the Indian state take action against all those other officers, both serving and retired, who have been named in the investigation into saffron terrorism.

But we hear no peep out of the saffron parties at this real threat to Indian security and there is a deafening silence when Shiv Sena activists are caught planning a major massacre in Pune as they did in Bombay during 1991-92. It was Bal Thackeray who had then incited Shiv Sainiks and if the Srikrishna Commission could indict him for that, it was only because of the absence of television journalism at the time and the fact that, because of it, a relatively unknown reporter could impersonate as the assistant/friend of a political leader and sit in on Thackeray’s instructions issued from Matoshree to incite riots all across Bombay.

Though in a different time and context, the BJP’s attitude reminds me of that famous scene out of Sidney Poitier in To Sir, With Love. When he hurts himself and his finger bleeds, a white student says, “Jesus, its red!” (He means blood.) To which a non-racist student replies, ” So what did you expect? Ink?” By that she meant black.

So by Gadkari’s justification for his party’s own corruption it is clear that when the BJP bleeds, ‘it is red’. But when the Congress does the same (the Adarsh scam is identical to the Yedyurappa one, after all), it clearly is black!

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