Thursday, November 22, 2007

Kingdom of Worms

Rajasthan, Gujjar Protests, Naxalites stronger than ever, North-Eastern Militancy on the rise, Nandigram, and now, Protests in Kolkata against Taslima Nasreen. Welcome to the new, unsafe India.

The Financial Times has reported that Shivraj Patil, our bumbling, invisible Home Minister, has finally woken up to the devastation that is Nandigram. He came out with the following reply:

“We have given directives to the state government that no one should be forced to leave his or her home. Everybody should be brought back and given full protection,” Patil said. He added that the Centre had information that “some outsiders had instigated people from behind to take to violence. They also brought sophisticated weapons into the area”.
The CRPF has debunked the last statement. In a CNN-IBN report, CRPF DIG, Alok Raj has stated that there was no evidence of Maoist weapons or the presence of Armed Maoist Cadres. Perhaps Shivraj Patil got his names mixed up- it was the CPI(M)'s goonda's and armed terrorist militia who, armed with Bolt action rifles, country made pistols, machetes and even SLRs, marched into Nandigram, easily scattering the lathi-wielding locals, and embarked on their pillage of the area. Maoists were the scapegoats for the CPM leaders in Kolkata- easy targets, much like the Communists when the Reichstag burned.

The Home Minister's post has been been an extremely powerful and important post; but under Shivraj Patil's ineffective sleepover at the helm, it seems almost an honorary post. Patil, who, like Pratibha Patil and most other Congressmen, got his post due to his loyalty to "The Family" and to Madam Maino. He has seen the rise of the Naxal menace, which is now a threat of gargantuan proportions. Law and order in several areas has literally crumbled, and the weak government at the centre has meant that even small groups with political leverage have been able to hold the authorities to ransom.

The result- Internal security is worse than any other time in the past. As the government is more worried about its own survival and the Political fortunes of Crown Prince Rahul Gandhi, the conditions of poor people or the state of Police Forces is the least of their concerns. The main problem is the weak-kneed Congress Government. Even a bad decision is better than no decision. Unfortunately, thats something the UPA has forgotten, seeing how they are being pulled by all sides, each of which, however small, has the power to bring the government to a crashing fall. And that's something that Sonia Gandhi cannot stomach.

Then, there is the man at the helm. Much like the other seat-warmers in other posts, including Manmohan Singh, Patil is a true Sonia loyalist. Thats something thats rewarded, irrespective of how ill-fitting the man is to the post- just look at the other senile dinosaurs in the cabinet- Natwar Singh (who's thankfully gone), Arjun Singh (who, unfortunately, isn't off the 'reservation'
yet), Ambika Soni and Renuka Chaudhary. Patil hasn't been given any power by 10, Janpath, and unfortunately, he seems content with remaining a titular figurehead. The Home Minister must be strong-willed, and willing to make hard decisions that could cost them their careers. No one in the present government has the spine to do that. Look at our previous Home ministers- Sardar Patel, Rajaji, Lal Bahadur Sastri, Morarji Desai, and Lal Krishna Advani. And then, look at Shivraj Patil.

Till the next elections, theres little else to do but wait and pray that the country isn't destroyed by then. 'Coz at the way we're going, we'll probably get there pretty fast.

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