OPINION
KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI
Prime Minister’s Free Hand. Governor’s Merciless Offer. Pl say, “No, thank you.”
- S Pal
Prime Minister’s Free Hand. Governor’s Merciless Offer. Pl say, “No, thank you.”



PRIME MINISTERS usually speak very carefully. That's why they have tremendous help to decide what to say. They have teams of speech writers who are great with words, and they have extremely savvy spin masters who know how to convey what needs to be conveyed to certain quarters without using language that is even a notch less than prime ministerial.

The words of a prime minister are very precious. They are taken very seriously. By those who love him, who vote for him, who disagree with him, and who hate him.

It starts with words.

That's why Prime Minister Narendra Modi's words, uttered in Tirupur, Tamil Nadu on February 10, 2019, were so very reassuring. The Prime Minister said the NDA government "is a government for each and every Indian.”  

That was before the dastardly attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama, Kashmir. Mr Modi is a very astute leader who knows the value and significance of his words, particularly after such an attack, since he knows the nation is looking up to him. Even those who oppose him are looking towards him to see what his words will be, in what tone will these be uttered, in what kind of matrix will these be received?

One has no reason to not believe that the Prime Minister chose his words very carefully, very deliberately. 

On Friday, February 15, the Cabinet Committee on Security met, chaired by the Prime Minister, and took certain steps to send unambiguous signals to Pakistan. The MFN status stood withdrawn. In real terms, it effectively means sanctions. It means restrictive, almost punishing, tariffs. The Prime Minister said those responsible for the sacrifice of India's brave sons would pay a "very heavy price”.

And then his script veered from the trodden prime ministerial path. 

"Security forces have been given complete freedom, the blood of the people is boiling.” Modi did not mention Pakistan by name.

Angry crowds heard him, loud and clear. They are exactly the people whose blood is boiling. Such words convey something to them. These were people itching to do their bit for what they thought was the path of the righteous. These were crowds that had formed a narrative — Pakistan was a bad country where bad people live. This country was formed on a bad basis. It always does bad things to India. All these bad people have the same religion. 

These crowds have heard a lot of bad things about people who belong to that religion.

Now, they heard the prime minister saying that the armed forces have been given a free hand. These crowds have heard a hell of a lot of good things about the armed forces.

The picture was complete. Good people must deal with bad people, and the leader of the country was allowing a free hand for the purpose.

This is not a crowd that will rest after entrusting the task to the army. It is a crowd in a feverish action mode. It wants to avenge the killings of our dear jawans. It is restive for some actual action.

So it spills into streets in city after city. In some cities, it tells people to shut down their businesses. In some, it tells fellow citizens to throw out their Kashmiri tenants. In certain other cities, it tells students of one particular religion to go back to the states they came from. Anyone in doubt is welcome to go to Pakistan.  

View from the hostel room of a girl student in Dehradun as a "patriotic" crowd rages outside.
 
In Dehradun, a group of citizens who soaked in a heavy dose of patriotic fervour, laid siege to a girls' hostel, demanding that the Kashmiri girl students must come out and apologise for the killing of 40 CRPF men and then leave for Kashmir at once. For hours, the girls — each single one of them an Indian citizen fully protected by a Constitution that Prime Minister Modi is sworn to follow — squirmed in their rooms, with lights switched off and calls to go to Pakistan renting the air outside. 

On Saturday, February 16, Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik directed the police to take strict action "without mercy” against any hooligans. That's a little peculiar since the governor, as protector of the Constitution, is only mandated to act as per the law. 
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Pulwama is changing us. If Jaish-e-Mohammed killed our brave jawans, it did so with a purpose. It wanted us to do something in response. We have no right to let it succeed.
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India's laws are merciful, even for the merciless. That's why we try Kasab after 26/11, and feed him properly till the day he hangs. That's why we do not throw to the dogs the bodies of those dead after capital punishment. That's why the law allows an Afzal Guru to file a mercy petition. That's why even when he was hanged in a top secret move, all procedures were followed. The President of India rejected his mercy petition; his family was informed; he was given a chance to offer namaz; he was served tea; and he was medically examined. Yes, his body was not handed over to the kin out of fear that any funeral could witness violence, but it was duly buried inside the Tihar jail.

The law cannot by definition be merciless. 

Mercy is an integral part of a civil state. It gives a chance to those, who the state sends to death, to file a mercy petition. Now we have a governor of a highly disturbed state who tells his forces armed to the teeth to be merciless in dealing with citizens completely protected by the Constitution.

It is here where the terrorist is succeeding. 

Pulwama is changing us. If Jaish-e-Mohammed killed our brave jawans, it did so with a purpose. It wanted us to do something in response. We have no right to let it succeed.

So if we are really patriotic, we cannot have a free hand in dealing with people we think are very bad. We must shun that offer, even if it comes from a prime minister. And our forces must not deal with any citizen mercilessly.

We must remain mercilessly good people. We must remain firm, our good politicians must stand united, our prime minister and his ministers must guide and lead, and we must believe that our armed forces are capable of carrying out the will of our elected political executive and keep us safe.

They do so at great risk to their lives, and we must remain a nation eternally grateful to our forces. One way of doing that is to stay lawful. Mercilessly. Mercifully. 

Those girls in that Dehradun hostel are our daughters, just as the 40 were our sons. We have no other way of relating ourselves to our sons and daughters.

That's who we are. We cannot be lesser people. We are a great people. We shall not shun our greatness for a terrorist who loads a few sacks of explosives in a car, or a country that uses terror as an instrument of state policy. We have a good and holy book. It is called the Constitution. 

If something were to happen to it, then how will Narendra Modi be sworn in as our re-elected prime minister this summer?
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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Comment by: Raj Kumar Singh

Does this all non sense means that terrorists can kill people throw stone at armed forces and army CRPF even the non Muslims has to be merciful to them. What our mercy will do when we will be mercilessly killed like it has been done previously. Does this Constitution gives rights to Muslims and Christians only and none others. Majority is not here die get looted. Where were you all when Kashmiri pandits were thrown out of valley in the name of religion .So pl don’t spread wrong ideas by twisting words.

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