Tuesday, December 21, 2010



The exercise initiated by Mrs.Sonia Gandhi, the President of the Congress (I), and her cohorts at the just concluded 83rd plenary of the Congress (I) to have the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) projected and demonised as a Hindu terrorist organisation comparable to the Nazi groups of World War II vintage and the more recent Islamic terrorist organisations speaks of the mental confusion that prevails at the senior levels of her party. It also highlights the total bankruptcy of thinking and the total indifference to sensitive issues that have become the defining characteristics of the party under her leadership in recent months.

2. It is a fact that some members of the Hindu community had during the last three or four years taken to acts of reprisal terrorism against the Muslim community at Malegaon, Hyderabad and Ajmer. It also seems to be a fact that the Hindus suspected to have been involved in these acts of reprisal terrorism were ideologically close to some of the Hindutva groups, including the RSS. The suspected role of some regional office-bearers of the RSS in motivating those Hindus, who had taken to anti-Muslim terrorism, is presently under investigation.

3. But there has been no evidence so far that the RSS as an organisation had any role in encouraging acts of reprisal against the Muslims or in motivating those who had taken to terrorism. The RSS and its leaders seem to have been as much surprised and embarrassed by the activities of these Hindu elements as other sections of the Hindu society.In the past, there had been instances of some Hindus indulging in acts of sporadic violence against Muslims in moments of public anger, but there were no instances of any Hindu or group of Hindus taking to deliberately planned acts of anti-Muslim terrorism.

4.Such deliberate and pre-planned acts of terrorism by elements in the Hindu community, including one or two officers of the armed forces, have been a recent phenomenon triggered off by a growing anger in sections of the Hindu community over what they perceived as inaction or inadequate action of the Congress (I) controlled Governments in dealing with acts of terrorism by some members of the Indian Muslim community and by Pakistani jihadi organisations sponsored by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

5. These acts of reprisal terrorism by some members of the Hindu community called for two pronged action by the Government. Firstly, the arrest and prosecution of those involved. Secondly, action to address the causes of anger in the Hindu community . Instead of doing so, the Congress (I), by launching an unwise and virulent campaign against the RSS, is going to add to the anger in the Hindu community, large sections of which look upon the RSS as an organisation which has been serving the cause of Hinduism in the land of its origin through its religious, social, cultural and humanitarian work.

6. The Hindus are in an overwhelming majority in this country and they have a right to have organisations such as the RSS to preserve the heritage of their religion and to protect and nourish their religious roots. By demonising the RSS as a terrorist and Nazi-like organisation, the Congress (I) under the leadership of Mrs.Sonia Gandhi seeks to insult millions of Hindus in this country who serve the cause of the RSS and discredit their heritage in the eyes of the rest of the world.

7. The anti-RSS campaign of the Congress (I) will not only add to the already existing anger in sections of the Hindu community,but will also play into the hands of the jihadi terrorists by facilitating their objective of aggravating the divide between the Hindu and Muslim communities. Before this campaign starts further damaging the relations between the two communities, the Congress (I) should stop its demonisation of the RSS, which would prove counter-productive. ( 22-12-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )



Mrs.Sonia Gandhi, the President of the Congress (I), and Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh have been living in a make-believe world of their own totally cut off from reality. This became apparent from their speeches at the just concluded 83rd plenary session of the Congress (I).

2. The reality is the plethora of serious corruption cases that have come to the fore one after the other for more than a year now--- in the Government of India as well as in the State of Maharashtra. These cases demanded prompt action for their investigation and prosecution of those involved in the cases----either at the political level or at the level of bureaucrats or both. Instead of initiating prompt action in a manner that would satisfy the public, attempts have been made to drag their feet in order to avoid having to take action while pretending to act. Instead of acting against the wrong-doers through the investigative agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), these agencies were kept away from the wrong-doers in a blatant manner in an attempt to protect them from the legal consequences of their wrong-doing.

3.Whenever the CBI takes up a case of suspected corruption for preliminary enquiry or investigation, it is expected to initiate three steps immediately after taking cognizance of the complaint---firstly, seize documents that could have a bearing on the enquiry or investigation to prevent their being tampered with or destroyed; secondly, identify and freeze bank accounts that could be connected with the wrong-doing in order to prevent the money-trail from being destroyed; and thirdly, seize the passports and other travel documents of the suspects under enquiry or investigation in order to prevent them from fleeing the country. Arrests follow later for custodial interrogation before prosecution.

4.None of these steps was taken----particularly in the case relating to the so-called 2G spectrum scam in the Ministry of Telecommunications in which the principal suspect is A.Raja, who had to resign as Minister following the submission of a report by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India drawing attention to the massive irregularities allegedly committed by him during his tenure as the Minister. He allegedly committed these irregularities not clandestinely, but blatantly in a manner that was widely known in the Ministry.

5. No attempt seems to have been made for months by senior officials of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet Secretariat to prevent Raja from misusing his office and, if they did not succeed in doing so, to draw the attention of the Prime Minister to his misdeeds and seek his intervention. If they had not done so, it was dereliction of duty of a serious nature on their part. On the contrary, if they had done so, but if the Prime Minister had not acted on their caution, it was dereliction of duty by the Prime Minister for which he cannot escape responsibility.

6. There have been derelictions of duty at various levels----political and bureaucratic--- probably going up to the Prime Minister. The question is not just whether Dr.Manmohan Singh is an honest man of tremendous integrity. The question is whether Dr.Manmohan Singh was effective as the head of the Cabinet and the Government in rooting out such instances of corruption. There was a colossal failure of leadership by the Prime Minister who showed poor reflexes in dealing with the allegations and in failing to act against Raja and others involved.

7. A CBI enquiry---even if it be under the supervision of the Supreme Court---- can only go into the criminal ramifications of the case. It cannot go into the administrative and policy ramifications. Nor can it identify leadership deficiencies at various levels, which made this scam possible. Only a comprehensive enquiry by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into the various aspects of the scam---- political, administrative and criminal--- can throw light on what happened, how it happened, who were the dramatis personae and how it remained undetected. Only a JPC can identify and zero in on lapses at the Cabinet level.

8. By opposing such a comprehensive enquiry by a JPC, the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi are apparently trying to keep the enquiry confined to the criminal aspects of the case without going into the other aspects which could create embarrassment for the Government in general and the Prime Minister in particular.

9. In their speeches at the Congress plenary, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh have used diversionary tactics by announcing a series of measures for preventing corruption in future without explaining what they intended doing to deal with the corruption that has already taken place and to punish those responsible so that there is a deterrent effect on future temptations. The Prime Minister’s offer to subject himself to questioning by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament is part of this diversionary tactics. The Prime Minister is yet to explain to the people why he is so doggedly opposing a JPC. The fact that past JPCs did not produce results is no excuse for not having one to enquire into the 2G spectrum scam.

10. Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister seem to be calculating that if they continue to stonewall the demand for a JPC and avoid a comprehensive enquiry, there could be a backlash against the opposition and public memory will start forgetting the scams. This should not be allowed to happen. (21-12-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and , presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )