It is now more than two months when the disastrous Pulwama (Feb 14) tragedy happened and ‘it was a gift to BJP before the general elections’ conferred AS Dulat, former RAW chief (March 31), he also in the same vein cautioned that when patriotism is enough nationalism should not be harped upon as it leads to war. BJP is now back with ‘nationalism’ as its dominant theme, in its manifesto released on April 9, for the general elections.
No sooner the tragedy the entire country was in the grip of a war-fever and the Modi government which had been dithering since the list of absconders like Lalit Modi, Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choski, after siphoning the country to the tune of billions kept on increasing, apart from Mahesh Shah, Jay Amit Shah, stupendous rise in wealth, issues like CBI V’s CBI, RBI mishandling, Rafale deal-thus puncturing the image of Modi to be that of ‘corruption free’ government. In fact, Modi government worst day ( Jan 12, 2018) had already come when four-sitting Supreme Court judges held a press-conference, something unprecedented in the country’s history, to state that ‘democracy is at stake’. But come Pulwama, in which we lost our 44 Jawans, and the entire political discourse of the nation got monopolised.
The first obvious response after Pulwama tragedy is to seek an answer from Modi, that when he had announced demonetisation, he had offered an argument that the initiative was to put an end to cross-border terrorism and stop stone-pelters on our army. Has that happened? Has the black money and fake-currency got finished? If not stashed back into our banks? Have the hoarders debunked illegal money and not got it converted into gold. Why did Modi then undertake such an exercise and made the entire country stand on its toes, in biting cold, and in which more than a hundred people lost their lives while standing in the long queues? Is it now an open fact that RBI has been stuffed with more currency than it printed! The nation deserves an answer as the scourge of which will take decades to heal. Terrorism is present as it had been, black-money became white, fake-currency now again in vogue. Modi government failed on all its three counts.
The second response was that immediately after Pulwama tragedy Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik admitted ‘negligence’ and it was then construed that his days were numbered as the ‘nationalist’ Modi government would never aver for such a person, to be at the helm, but nothing happened and no political- party or politician has sought for it. Why is Modi continuing with him amid the war-hysteria he created in the aftermath of Pulwama bloodbath? Shouldn’t it may be reiterated that Congress Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil went down the history lane in the wake of 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
The perpetrators of Pulwama tragedy deserve to be condemned in the strongest words, but the blood-letting and limbs flung in the air of our Jawans brought a political harvest for Modi, his ministers and his party chief. Everyone went into a spree by holding rallies mobilising BJP support. War mongering became full throttle and Modi and ministers bayed for war with Pakistan. India ultimately made air-strikes at Balakot, Pakistan ( Feb 25) and the country hailed in joy, as a befitting tribute to our lost souls on their Tirahi ( 13th day of death) but when Pakistan downed our MIG- 21 and caught our Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan, Modi lost his tenor. His entire coterie underwent ‘maun ki baat’ until Pakistan returned Abhinandan as a ‘gesture of peace’ on March 2.
The time in-between that fortnight was enough for Modi to don the war-mantle and buoy on it to reclaim the power on the crest of nationalism. Here, a requiem from not so a distant past may be put into perspective as Modi has starkly proven that his government makes a definite-distinction over our CRPF martyrs! The third response is to ask Modi as to what his government did in context to Dantewada massacre which saw our 74 jawans blown to smithereens by Maoists in 2010. Modi could have at least summoned Chinese ambassador on it after he assumed power. Do we have any memory of saber-rattling with China? Was China accused of sponsoring terrorism in India at UN? No referring to Doklam here. Is the blood of our Jawans killed in 2010 not blood but water, perhaps yes, as they would not bring political dividends, despite them being about double in numbers to the Pulwama tragedy? Modi government clearly distinguishes between our martyrs. His quid pro quo could not be fathomed even as 216 of our security personnel have been lost to Maoists since he took to office in May 2014. The same trend continues unabated despite BJP own MLA Bhima Mandawi with four others having been killed in Dantewada on April 10.
But, Modi is seeking votes in the name of Pulwama and Balakot braves (April 10) and why not in the name of Dantewada martyrs, this in fact is a part of a well- calibrated strategy to drag Pakistan in our political milieu, as for BJP Pakistan baton is just to stigmatise Muslims, and also at the same time, to communalise Hindus. For BJP Pakistan bashing is Muslim bashing, in war time or during normalcy, as the defeat of BJP would warrant celebrations in Karachi and Lahore, as has always been the handpicked BJP thesis.
Haider Abbas is a lawyer, journalist and former UP State Information Commissioner.