Vidya Bhushan Rawat
The Pune Police searching the residance of Hany Babu, a teacher of English in Delhi University, related to Bhimakoregaon case is an example of how in the ‘law enforcement’ the police and other intellegence agencies have given power beyond control. We dont know why Pune Police is determined to ‘develop’ Bhima Koregaon incident into a huge conspiracy when those goons who attacked the people in the street when they were returning from there are roaming free.
Bhimakoregaon is a tribute to the strength of Mahar community in their fight against Peshwas and the memorial was there for long. It is here that Baba Saheb Ambedkar used to visit every 1st january. The Ambedkarites in Maharashtra and from other parts of India would visit this place and celebrate it. There are few things which none can match them. The Dusshara day or October 14th when Baba Saheb Ambedkar with millions of his followers embraced Buddhism so people gather in Nagpur which is one of the biggest congregation. Then we have December 6th when people gather in Chaitya Bhumi in Mumbai where Baba Saheb was creamated and then April 14th, when crores of Bahujan Samaj people celebrate Ambedkar Jayanti.
The question is who was responsible for Bhimakoregaon violence when it is a well known fact that it is an annual function or celebrations which is spontaneous in nature where a majority of Ambedkarite visits.
Police has right to investigate things but cant harass people, raiding their homes and taking away their intellectual wealth. It is sad that despite arrest of people, there is no formal chargesheet.
In Today’s world when you have huge digital data, you can get mails from diverse group, you may be members of discussion groups, some time you dont follow, you may receive phone calls from different people many of who you may not even know but based on these things if the police and agencies create an environment of intimidation and harassment then it must be stopped.
We know government has decided to call people terrorists before they could prove it. The onus lies on the individuals. This is such a mental trauma which only the individual facing and his or her family know it. It is time for the Supreme Court to prove its mettle and provide strong guidelines in relation to such searches by state police in another state. There was a time when it was difficult for a state police to enter and do the searches in other state but it seems that it has become a norm.
It is sad because this is only attempt to stop ideas from flourishing. Courts have clarified many times that difference of ideas from the state does not amount to being anti national. If an idea does not promote animosity among communities or waging a war against the state, it is no crime. Definitely, we all know that unity and integrity of India is paramount but equally important are the rights of the people. It is people choice to live together as a nation that we are a strong nation. It is not the state or power which keep us together, it is our common values which binds us together. Interestingly, those who are openly calling for mob lynching, elimination of minorities and their deportation are roaming free and police does not find any evidence against them even when they are caught red handed.
Discrimination and biases among our fellow citizens will not make this country great. It will flourish only when diverse ideas are allowed to roam and we critique them. It is not necessary for us to agree on everything. India grew because our founding fathers realise the immense power of people and strength in its diversity. Attempt to homogenise thought process, ideologies, eating habits or culture of this great country, will only be detrimental for the integrity of the nation. Hope those in power realise that diversity of ideas and culture is our strength and not our weakness. Academic institutions and academics must allow questioning and freedom of thoughts so that we have children who can question wrongs and have the power to speak the truth to the power. But it seems power is frightened of the independence of thoughts and ideas. Still, we have no option but to keep uniting and joining hand in our common struggle to protect our secular liberal constitution and the unity and integrity of the country from those who want to destroy it by trying to homogenise it.