Restrain Mr. Venomous by Mohammed Ataur Rahman (MARCH 30, 2009)

Hopefully, detention under the NSA would keep Varun Gandhi from harming social unity, writes Mohammed Ataur Rahman.

Now that Varun Gandhi has been slapped with the National Security Act (NSA), for the first time we are seeing hate speech being discouraged.

The Allahabad High Court has done it a second time: first time by declaring Varun’s grandmother Indira Gandhi’s election null and void at a time when Mrs Gandhi was at the height of her power; and now by throwing out Varun’s plea to quash an FIR lodged against him for spreading hatred against a section of Indian citizenry.

However, what is more important is the Sangh’s duplicitous stand on the issue. While one branch of the Sangh feigns outrage at his hate speech, another branch insists on using him as a new version of Narendar Modi, Uma Bharti and Sadhvi Rothambra to create a pre-election anti-Muslim hysteria.

Such Sangh behaviour pattern is familiar. On several issues, including Babri Masjid demolition, the Sangh and its fronts like BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal have tried to confuse Indians by striking different postures at different times, or at the same time.

For instance, Atal Behari Vajpayee pretended to stay away from LK Advani’s rath yatra and Babri Masjid demolition campaign. But he had no qualms about taking advantage of the raised communal temperatures in the wake of the yatra.

When Advani’s campaign of demolishing the mosque succeeded and he became a Hindutva hero overnight, he tried to feign innocence saying that the day of mosque demolition (December 6, 1992) was the “saddest day in my life”. However, he would not express regret at his heinous act even after being condemned worldwide. Vajpayee went a step further by declaring that he wanted to “go into political sanyas”. Never mind that he became prime minister twice after desiring publicly to renounce the world.

There are so many examples of this doubledfacedness and doublespeak. We may not need to go into all that. However, what we must keep in mind is that lawless, anti-Muslim, anti-minorities and anti-Dalit elements must never be allowed to usurp power and undermine the rule of law. Varun has emerged as the latest face of the forces of darkness.

In one of the CDs provided to the Election Commission, Varun is alleged to be calling the Sikh candidate from Pilibhit the “Pagal Sardar” (that mad Sikh) and alleging that his mind is always out of order as it is always “barah baje” for him. Barah baje is a Sardarji joke which suggests that at noon their heads get hot under their turban and they act crazy. That is less of a joke and more a slur. It is interesting to note that Varun’s grandfather (his mother’s father) was a Sikh.

The system must make sure that this bigot does not get the respectability of a member of parliament and is stopped short of entering the Lok Sabha at some stage.


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