Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"Ram Lakhan pilgrimage to Hajj"

"Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment." Mahatma Gandhi.

Good morning!

The other night I witnessed an ordinary moment which defies nothing exemplary but something that brought a smile on my face. On my way to home from work, I saw "Ram Lakhan Deluxe coach" written on the backside of a bus. When my cab overtook the bus, it simply blown my mind away. The bus was carrying pilgrims travelling to annual Islamic pilgrimage to Hajj. There is nothing to brag about it. But if we can nurture ourselves with meaningful thoughts by looking at famous paintings or drawings, why not see and cherish the meaningful things dancing just in front of our nose in reality everyday?

Of course, India is a secular country and there is nothing to stress about it nor debate about religions. It is a fact that people have overcome "Divide and Rule" principle started by British and passed on to Indian politicians in 15 August 1947. Divide and Rule principle is no better than Adolf Hitler "Mein Kampf" manifesto. It is obvious politicians in India would never want us to stay united; and they rather scheme the centuries old principles tweaking and turning at the cost of many innocent lives for the sake of absolute power. Power is always dangerous; and it attracts the worst and corrupts the best. It absolutely true when Lord Acton said "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

The current ISIS onslaughts of innocent people in Iraq is the present day example of fanatics in full throttle racing towards absolute power so they terrorize every living souls who does not follow their barbaric laws. ISIS is a terrorist organization and it is unfair to dig out the similarity with our country Parliament Act "Armed Forces Special Power" passed on 11 September in 1958. However the Act is completely a Draconian set of regulations still enforced in North East states of India and Jammu & Kashmir. The Act has no place in any of the civilized Democratic countries. The central government can enforced the Act if any states of India is deemed to be "Disturbed Area."

Do we know how the Armed Forces Special Power Act come into existence? Right after the partition of India and Pakistan in the year 1947, the unrest between Hindus(including Sikhs) and Muslims was at peak. If not for power struggle between Nehru and Ali Jinnah, the unrest could have been prevented. Similarly, if not for the British interest in India in the late 19th century and early 20th century, the British "Divide and Rule" principles of uniquely identifying the leaders of Muslim as well as its counterpart leaders could have been ineffective. But in the end, almost every politicians before and after India freedom succumbed to the lust of power. And to hold on the power, killings, community riots, etc. becomes the tools to negotiate power between all the interested parties.

Once all the interested parties have come to an agreement, the Act come into existence because the government fear the repercussion if people revolutions and the threats of newly formed militants. After all, when the Act is like a bulletproof for central government to hold on the power.
According to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, in an area that is proclaimed as "disturbed", an officer of the armed forces has powers to:

1. After giving such due warning, Fire upon or use other kinds of force even if it causes death, against the person who is acting against law or order in the disturbed area for the maintenance of public order.

2. Destroy any arms dump, hide-outs, prepared or fortified position or shelter or training camp from which armed attacks are made by the armed volunteers or armed gangs or absconders wanted for any offence.

3. To arrest without a warrant anyone who has committed cognizable offences or is reasonably suspected of having done so and may use force if needed for the arrest.

4. To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests, or to recover any person wrongfully restrained or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances and seize it.

5. Stop and search any vehicle or vessel reasonably suspected to be carrying such person or weapons. Any person arrested and taken into custody under this Act shall be made over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station with the least possible delay, together with a report of the circumstances occasioning the arrest.

6. Army officers have legal immunity for their actions. There can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under that law. Nor is the government's judgment on why an area is found to be disturbed subject to judicial review.

7. Protection of persons acting in good faith under this Act from prosecution, suit or other legal proceedings, except with the sanction of the Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act.

The Act itself is a Draconian law where people just become an liability to central Government rather than its entity. The Act has been misused many times by the army in Manipur. For instances, the Manorama Rape case, the fake encounters, Malom massacre where ten civilians were lined up and shot to dead, etc. I don't know if the Act is a tool for central government so they can divide and rule but it certainly seems to be. And I'm still afraid if the politicians in power should misuse the sentiments of people based on religions.

My point is we are actually the power and we can decide our own fate. And the fact is that majority of people in India can live in harmony despite the differences in religions and culture. We don't need a law like Armed Forces Special Powers Act in a democratic country like ours and the central government need to review its stance in North East states of India and Jammu & Kashmir.

Thank you. Have a good day!

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