JP and Fighting for our Fundamental Rights
February 17th will go down as one of the ignominious days in our state’s history. Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) is one of the most respected leaders, not just in our state, but in the entire nation. He is known for his honesty and integrity. He has given up a comfortable life as an IAS officer with the goal of cleansing our political system. He has fought relentlessly against corruption and for the fundamental rights of citizens.
It is very unfortunate that the legislators that are responsible for making the laws of the land were the chief provocateurs for a physical assault on JP on the premises of Andhra Pradesh State Assembly on February 17th, 2011. To make matters worse, leaders like KTR, who were educated in the West, instead of championing individuals’ fundamental right of expression, were seen inciting their followers to physically assault JP with the use of filthiest possible language.
For too long, we have hoped for our leaders to stand up and fight for us. Unfortunately, they have failed us. Our elected leaders were mute spectators to the events in the Assembly, just like they have been mute spectators for the last ten years. Ours is a country that is home to leaders like Mahatma Gandhi who took on one of the most powerful countries in the world- The British Empire. Our state is home to fearless fighters like Alluri Sitaramaraju. Our great leaders fought against injustice purely based on a conviction that they were right. That courage and conviction is lost among our leadership today.
The demand for a separate state is not just, but is grounded in prejudice. The allegations of discrimination and under development that have been made by separatists for nearly a decade have been thoroughly refuted by the Srikrishna Committee. In a debate, the first person or group to indulge in physical violence is the one who lost the argument. That is what has happened in the case of separatists’ assault on JP. JP has brought out truth much before Srikrishna Committee did. He boldly came out and said that the separatist allegations did not hold water. He bravely went on TV and aired his views with solid documentary evidence to support his position. Truth is a little too much for the separatists to digest.
I have always had reservations about JP and Loksatta’s position that division of the state is neither good nor bad [I am paraphrasing]. I wished he and his party had taken a clear position on the issue of separation. To my greatest disappointment, Loksatta continued to be ambiguous on this issue. However, I have not run into integrationists who hold personal animosity towards JP. However, for separatists- those that agree with them are their friends and those that don’t should be silenced, even if it means assaulting them physically. This is the kind of culture you see in dictatorial and autocratic societies.
There is one cause that is more important than our state and dare I say even our nation, and that is the protection of fundamental rights of individuals. Whether we survive as a free nation or go the tyrannical way of much of the world is dependent on three simple tenets: life, liberty, and property. In the hierarchy of fundamental rights, protection of life is of the highest order. There is not a single justifiable reason to physically attack another person, other than for self-defence, unless such force is authorized by the law of the land. Unprovoked assault on JP is an assault on person’s fundamental right to life. On February 17th, 2011 our society has taken one step back from being a free society and took one step forward towards a tyrannical society.
Some may question, that there are innocent people being physically assaulted everyday in our nation with no recourse to justice. Similarly, isn’t the JP incident just a drop in the bucket? No it is not. JP is a nationally recognized leader. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress Party Presdient Sonia Gandhi, and many national figures know JP personally. He is a people’s representative and a member of the legislative assembly. If a man of that stature is attacked physically, where is the guarantee for the life of a common man? Separatists have succeeded in sending an unequivocal message to those that disagree with their agenda. There are no limits to how far separatists are willing to go to stifle the voices of those that disagree with them.
Save Andhra Pradesh!