Arming to disturb federalism

New Delhi's guilt to dislodge a government in a federal polity has gone unnoticed and unpunished.

Some 19 years ago, Danish national Kim Peter Davy dropped arms over Purulia, West Bengal, at the instance of the Government of India.

New Delhi’s reported purpose was to arm the Naxalites, a militant fringe of Leftists, to oust the communist government in West Bengal that had been ruling for more than two decades.

Davy has admitted in a recorded interview that he did so at the instance of a member of Indian Parliament. He still has not disclosed the name of the MP. Joginder Singh, the retired Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), has confirmed the report. But he too has refused to name the MP who was apparently a Congressman because the Narasimha Rao government was in power at that time.

This disclosure made by the intrepid Arnab Goswami on the Times Now channel has not been carried by the print media, including the Times of India, which owns the channel. “The central government saw and approved the plans to arm the defence of these innocent people,” Davy told the television channel. Davy also named Pappu Yadav as the Bihar MP who had helped him escape from India. He said he was in direct contact with the MP “who told me he was in further contact with the PM’s Office.”

It is difficult to say why the channel’s own paper or, for that matter, the entire press has not pursued the story. The press generally ignores the exclusive reports by its rivals. But if the information is important, it is followed up with a new intro and angle. The result is that New Delhi’s guilt to dislodge a government in a federal polity has gone unnoticed and unpunished.

The media can be blamed for the connivance because it has not tried to find out who was the MP responsible. Even now, after almost two decades, the MP concerned should be traced. This may reveal the machinations at New Delhi against a state government which pursued a different ideology than that of the ruling party at the Centre.

New Delhi’s unofficial explanation at that time was that the arms were meant for Bangladesh. In fact, it only goes on to prove the allegation by Islamabad that the entire uprising in the then East Pakistan was sponsored by India.

Though the true motive is shrouded in mystery and conjecture, the BBC, after investigation, alleged that the arms were intended for the so-called socio-spiritual organisation Ananda Marga. This has been disputed by Kim Davy who claimed the central government itself was behind the arms drop to counter the CPI (M) cadres.

An Indian court in 1997 determined that the Ananda Marga group was indeed the intended recipient of the guns and ammunition. Based on the pilot’s testimony, along with other evidence such as a photograph of the Ananda Marga headquarters on the aircraft, the judge ruled: “As per the materials available on record, I hold that it has been established that the places where the arms were targeted to be dropped were of Ananda Margis and precisely, three-storied white building was the target point and at that target point the arms were tried to be dropped from a flying aircraft and the aircraft has been pin pointed as per the evidence and materials on record.”

One thing which is not yet understandable is the reluctance of New Delhi to find out the truth now that Kim Davy has now recorded his confession. At what level the government at the centre was involved? Was it a bureaucratic conspiracy or was it the Congress party’s considered thinking? Whatever the case, it is still not too late to get at the bottom of the truth. The very credibility of the centre is at stake.

Religious-driven polity
New Delhi owes an explanation on another issue and needs to come clean. A well-educated Muslim lady has appealed to me to give her the India that we inherited from the British. That is some 68 years ago. The scenario has changed from a liberal democracy to a religious-driven polity.

The government may not be an active participant in effecting the change but Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s blessings are there. His inclusive growth slogan appears to be only a cover for his Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) to destroy the pluralistic fabric of the country.

I wish I could help bring back the ethos of our national struggle, that is, secularism. But the militant fringe of the BJP, if not the party itself, has come to develop reverence even for Nathu Ram Godse, who killed Mahatma Gandhi. Some have even proposed the installation of his statue.

This kind of thinking is making inroads in our pluralistic ideology because the faith in secularism has weakened. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain vandalism against even a film that exposed the godmen.

I concede that Modi had no clue of communalism that has been sought to be injected into the whole incident. But he has not condemned, much less arrested those who indulged in the hooliganism. He dare not take action against the RSS which is now part of politics, instead of being a mere guide.

What has shocked me is that the government has not prepared to take action against the extreme elements which may not be saffronising the atmosphere, but definitely polarising the society to an extent which was never seen before. Therefore, the only answer to the question raised by the Muslim lady is to unite the disparate forces to re-enunciate the values which motivated us to pursue the core of the national movement.

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