The decision of the Election Commission (EC) of India to ban the Union Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur and BJP MP Parvesh Verma from campaigning for the current elections to Delhi Vidhan Sabha for 3 and 4 days, respectively, saying that it was not satisfied with the reply given by the two leaders. The EC further said that its earlier order to remove the two leaders from the list of star campaigners would also continue.
EC direction may be heartening to some sections of political parties but it does not stand the test of being rational. It has handed out two punishments for the same ‘offence’ of having made one single statement.
Further, EC issued the January 30 order finding having been “not satisfied with their reply”. But the first order directing their party to remove their names from the list of “star campaigners” was issued in post haste and was arbitrary because it was done without seeking an explanation from the two leaders before issuing the first order.
“Goli maaro ghaddaaron ko” (kill the traitors) is a very common phrase in our day-today life and society. “Main tumhen goli maar doonga” is a phrase used even within a family when a child or wife/husband is going to commit something wrong which is not in tune with the family and society’s traditions. In cases where girls and infants have been murdered after rape, the victims and their families have always been demanding (goli maar do un gunahgaaron ko” (kill the guilty). In the notorious Nirbhaya rape and murder case, her mother has been running from pillar to post to get her daughter’s killers hanged at the earliest. Is it a crime?
In the instant case, Thakur demanded and Verma supported:”Goli maaro ghaddaron ko”. They have just demanded the killing of the traitors; they have not identified or named who are the traitors. Does the EC and the people feel that it is against law or Model Code of Conduct to demand traitors to be hanged? Identifying traitors is the function of the investigating agency and judiciary to punish the ‘traitor’.
To quote just a few cases, Maqbool Butt in J&K, Afzal Guru accused in the 2001 Parliament case, 26/11 Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, were tried and ordered to be hanged by the highest court of the country and not by the common man in the street. It is a different matter that the common man did demand these traitors to be killed (goli maaro). The common man is not guilty of any crime in demanding it.
A boy abducted an infant from his neighbourhood in Shimla for the purpose of ransom more than two years back. When failed, the boy killed the infant and dumped his body in a water storage tank. After a few months, the guilty boy was named and arrested. His mother was so dejected that before the Press she said: I will shoot him myself on the Mall road. Did she commit a crime by saying so?
The then Congress President while campaigning in 2019 elections to Parliament openly alleged repeatedly in a number of electoral rallies that “chaukidar chor hai” obviously meaning PM Narendra Modi who had been claiming to be a chaukidar of the nation. But, surprisingly, EC did neither take note of it and neither acted on it. Why?
Our law says that murder/rape/treason is a heinous crime and if anybody does commit such a crime he stands to be hanged or given some other punishment. Recently, a new law has been passed providing for a very high punishment or fine for breaking traffic laws. Doies our law threaten people? Our law does threaten the law-breaker but not the innocent law-abider. And so does the EC or the election law. If one is not a traitor, why should one lose one’s sleep?
There is another side of the story. The CBI has come out with a charge-sheet against former JNUSU president Kanhaiyya Kumar. But the AAP Delhi government is sitting over the matter of sanctioning his prosecution for the last about two years. A Delhi court also regretted this fact. The Delhi government should have taken a decision on merit by either sanctioning his prosecution or refusing it one way or the other. It should not have sat over the file for so long. AAP CM knew that granting sanction or denying it will cost it losing electoral gain from one section of the people. It is a travesty of facts that this very government had been criticizing the Lt. Governor for sitting over some of its files.
In its anxiety to look impartial, EC itself has raised a question on its own image. The EC should not only be fair and impartial, but should also appear to be so.
Author : Amba Charan Vashishtha