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If Anna Hazare movement is to overthrow democracy, but where is democracy

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Indian Democracy. Photo by Luit Chaliha

By- Pranjit Sarmah

With Anna Hazare’s famed Second freedom struggle against corruption, almost the whole of India looks united. It seems after a long time, people of India are collectively realizing about the Government of India’s divide and rule policies, which were made systematically over the last six decades in such a way that we never come out to the road united as an INDIAN.

The system adopted by the Government of India has been always used to immensely widen the different regions, castes and classes for self-political benefits. With its inefficient and corrupted practices, it is not that big a problem for the Government if there are several divided armed rebel groups in North East or Maoists in central India. It is a bigger problem if the entire country is united against the State malfunctions, if they cannot get emotional votes from the people anymore in the name of casts, class, region, or religion.

While the movement in the leadership of Anna Hazare is gaining momentum, some people are accusing it as an attempt to challenge the democratic function of India. Some has opined that the Jan Lokpal is draconian and that it will crush democracy. To clarify, Congress General Secretary yesterday praised the existing democratic process of India as “it might be slow and lengthy process still it has many beauties”.

The question for us to ask is,- if Jan Lokpal is draconian, if the movement is undemocratic or attempt to overthrow democracy, then why is the Government and our political leaders taking double standards on our country. Let us take an example by throwing some light about the GoI approach towards solving the insurgency in North-East; which is not at all democratic.  Even if the un-democratic method had succeeded, we would have probably still supported it calling it a necessity for national integration, but the GoI’s wrong attitude, divide and rule method and using the North East as a practice ground of Indian Army has only alienated the people more and more, slowly many people losing the trust on democracy itself.  Following are few observations about the decade long problem and outcome of government’s non-realistic approaches-

  • Due to usage of completely wrong policies without democratic ethics and patience, north east is divided in to seven geographical and many more emotional parts. Laws such as the AFSPA, state sponsored secret killings of innocent family members of insurgents, fake encounters and arrests, numerous human rights violations and torture to common innocent men in the name of insurgency control are evidences to this sad fact.
  • Internal borders among north-eastern states have become a major disturbance factor. If the government tries to make Nagaland happy, the Manipuri’s become unhappy and vice versa. If government decides to give a separate state to the Bodos, other organizations will in turn demand separate states and will take up arms. Gradually this decade long problem is getting into a shape of business and tradition of many organizations with money extortion etc.
  • Instead of going into the root cause of formation of different terrorist and armed organizations, the government is found adopting draconian, un-democratic acts like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act or AFPSA. In fact in Manipur, its looks like the state government wants the draconian act for political gain as the corruption is up to neck of that state government. While on the other hand, the life of the common citizen, poor villagers, farmers, wage-worker, etc is simply becoming horrible. Tourism for most of North East is still a day dream.
  • Is it right to use divide and rule policy in north-east to respect the unity of India? I do not feel any sincere citizen want a division in India, – they all want development, happy life, prosperity, good education of their children. The reason of armed rebellions in the region is ignorance and negligence to development, step motherly eye and most importantly failure of the Indian rulers to realize that the approach to deal the North East, with its different tribes, cultures and value systems, has to different,- in a way acceptable to its land and life. If the Government adopted realistic measures and reached the root of these people, communicated and understood what is wanted, the decade long problems would have been solved long ago.

Instead of adopting any such realistic measure, the government adopting some UN-democratic ways only led to the problems not getting any direction, common people continuing sufferings, business, tourism, developments adversely  affected. If one militant organization comes to negotiation, one others forms from the same lot and for similar reasons! The process of negotiation is very slow as well. The government is very fast to use some draconian and un-democratic laws but in the negotiation tables their UN-willingness and laziness is alone visible.

We all love our country, we all want development, and we want every Indian and foreigner to come enjoy the beauty of this beautiful north east feeling secured and happy. For this, the government has to adopt realistic and democratic means to solve the issues, they have to enter inside every problem and reach to its roots, avoid divide and rule policy and most importantly unite north east first to unite India. The process should be democratic such that killing one insurgent; you are not giving birth to 10 more.

 The Anna Hazare movement is getting a very good wave of response in Assam and rest of North East India too. With this movement, large number of people from North East seems to be realizing that somehow many problem of the region are also problems faced across different other regions across the country, in different shape and name. The realization in many from the region has dawned, that by joining hands with fellow Indians in their problems, all mainland Indians too can be brought to share the pain and help solve the decade long problems of North-East. Several National media now suddenly trumpeting for Irom Sharmila, AFSPA, Akhil Gogoi, etc; several nationally acclaimed activists voicing their concern in issues of the region such as the Mega Dam issue of Assam, etc are fruits to such realizations. These are indeed some good signs, especially when it comes to a region trouble torn with secessionism and neglect from fellow countrymen.

 It is time we all came together as Indians, irrespective of regions, religion, surnames and looks. It is time we demand true democracy, – which is truly of, for and by the people.

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If Anna Hazare movement is to overthrow democracy, but where is democracy

By: Times of Assam Bureau Read time: 5 min