INDIA AT 70: ARE WE GOVERNED AS PER THE CONSTITUTION

Ashish Kulkarni, an aide to Rahul Gandhi and one of his election managers resigned recently. In his resignation letter, he cited the reasons: The Congress party was seen to be siding with the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir; the party was veering to the far left; it was also perceived to be anti-Hindu; the party catered to outright nepotism and was seen as elitist; finally, there was too much minority appeasement.In a few short perceptive statements he managed to grasp what Lutyen’s Delhi has not been able to and why Digvijay Singh, Mani Shankar Aiyar and others of the Congress old guard are completely out of touch with India. It is not about nationalism or being Hindu, it is as Jay Panda, very rightfully pointed out at a roundtable discussion, that for decades India has not been governed according to our Constitution.

Every Indian under the constitution is considered equal. There must be a Uniform Civil Code for all Indians. These two mandated guarantees were largely ignored for vote banks and today, Indians are questioning it. That is why Triple Talaq, Love Jihad, Haj subsidies and other such issues are coming out in the open now. Muslim women themselves are demanding that the question of divorce cannot be left to arbitrary mullahs, where men are allowed to abandon their wives at will. Why should a secular Republic be dictated by rules that are not only archaic but a form of appeasement to minorities?

India at 70 has to move on and by moving on we not only need to give opportunities to each and every young person but we also need to recognise the rights of women under a universal law. For too long India has been living under the guise of a repressive tolerance. Left leaning socialism with its License Raj where companies could only produce so many cars or so many tons of steel led to massive corruption, high prices and a closed economy. It is a shame that we let go our basic manufacturing industries of electronics to China and helped them become a super power while our population remained poor, jobless and hungry.

It is horrendous that we let the separatists in Kashmir dictate to us how much money they wanted for peace in the valley, all the while taking money from Pakistan for disturbing the peace. For decades, the central government was actually conniving, condoning and paying for terror in the Valley along with, it seems, Pakistan! For years our Army and police forces sacrificed their lives for keeping the peace, while the local politicians in Kashmir and Hurriyat leaders were paid off to keep the Valley simmering and the youth inflamed.

Recently, Zaroor Ahmed Watali, a billionaire businessman, and close aide to Geelani, was found with secret diaries that revealed his ties with Pakistan’s ISI and funding to terrorists. The fact that since 1990 he has been using his businesses as a front for managing funds for the separatists for financing subversive activities in the valley and was arrested in 1990 and imprisoned but then let go, speaks volumes about politicians in Kashmir who grew rich on the blood of its people. For 27 years, Watali was allowed to finance terror in the valley and his businesses flourished in UAE, Europe, Mumbai and Kashmir thanks to political patronage and terror financing. The National Investigative Agency (NAI) is finally closing in on the separatists but we need to go after the politicians who allowed this kind of treason to flourish.

Ashish Kulkarni has done us a big favour by pointing out that the Congress extended too many favours to the separatists. It is time we found out why?

Freelance journalist Ashali Varma has authored the biography of her father late Lt. Gen. PS Bhagat—‘The Victoria Cross: A Love Story’. She was the executive publisher of The Earth Times, New York (1992- 98). She writes on various issues including human rights, population and sustainable development. She can be contacted at ashi.varma@gmail.com. She blogs at http:/ / blogs.timesofindia. indiatimes.com/ nofree- lunch/ A version of this article first appeared in The Times of India dated August 20, 2017.

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