Dr. Singhvi said, although I am going to continue to speak about the events in Haryana, I want to draw your kind attention to three particular facets and they are extremely important for the healthy functioning of a democracy. The first and the most important, is the utter callous insensitivity which we have seen from the Haryana Government and the Central Government. We have seen this callous insensitivity, which I would add, is coupled with newish obstinacy in the face of the most unprecedented strictures by the Hon’ble High Court of that State.
In any responsible sensitive form of democratic governance, comments not strictures, of far less severity than we have heard in Haryana, would have led to apologies, resignations and complete unconditional acceptance. Here it has had the opposite effect. That is the interesting part of it. Because of worldwide condemnation, because of High Court’s strictures, because of our comments calling for resignations, the reverse has happened; there is a hardening of positions. There is a digging in of heels. There is an increase of arrogance and because we have the temerity to ask for constitutional President’s rule and for resignation of Constitutional functionaries. The reaction is on the contrary, they have earned their continuance, not resignation. They have now earned their continuance, is the reaction of the powers that be. The words of the Hon’ble High Court which I am going to remind to you and quote to you, because we tend to forget, are unprecedented, not in recent living history or memory, can I recall such clear categorical, unequivocal, unambiguous strictures roping in not only the CM but commenting on the PM himself. No Chief Minister and no Prime Minister in recent history has suffered the comments from a Constitutional High functionary like the High Court and yet kept silent, but more than silence, there is newish obstinacy as I said coupled with arrogance of digging in your heels and not accepting fault, not resigning and not having President ‘s Rule.
The second facet on which I will draw your attention, is clearly the fact that we unconditionally welcome, in fact, I would say with great respect, we salute how the majesty of the law has been upheld in that State irrespective of our Division, we live in a constitutional Republic governed by Rule of Law and it is delightful, heartening and proud. It is with pride that we see the vindication of the majesty of the Law. It is not easy for High Courts to function in such atmosphere. There is chaos and writing all around. But we have found qualities which must be cherished in any democracy – straightforwardness specificity, unequivocal categorical words and addressing not only the larger issues but the nitty-gritty also. And for that as I said, I salute the third organ of State.
And lastly I will quote to you, the third facet which is the unimaginable, callousness and utter insensitivity of the quotations – we have heard the pearls of wisdom we have heard, from high BJP functionaries. I think they should be cherished also. They should be hung up on your walls to remind you of what these important personages enjoying the privilege of power had to say on this occasion.
I have made the first point, but the first point is incomplete till I tell you namely the point about we will not resign, we will not hold guilty, we will not apologize we will not accept blame. We will instead be brazen in the face of Hon’ble High Court observations, strictures, but before that I must remind you that in three years of BJP rule in Haryana there have been only, and I shudder to use that word, 72 deaths in Police public clashes. This includes 36 till now dead on Friday. You had the word ‘success’ used by Manohar Lal Khatter Government. This is the success for which this government was patting its own back. You have heard statements of success in controlling a mob. These are the figures, the stark reality behind that ‘success’ but is this kind of bravado, brazenness, insensitivity, obstinacy, massive arrogance possible when these are the words by a full Bench – let me remind you that a full Bench means three Judges – normally Benches sit in two Judges or single Judge of the High Court – single or two. This is a full Bench – a three Judge Bench is a full Bench, said this, I am quoting, I am not adding a comma or full stop from my side. (1) ‘National integration and law and order are above everything’.
I remember we have got more lectures on Nationalism and National integration from this Government, this PM, these CMs in 2-1/2 to 3 years than we have heard in a life time. So, the High Court says ‘National and law order are above everything. We are one Nation not a Party Nation. Politicians need to understand that the Nation is one. It is the Prime Minister of India, not the Prime Minister of BJP. It is the Chief Minister of the State, not the Chief Minister of the BJP. You Mr. Satya Pal Jain are Additional Solicitor General of India, not of any Party’. The Hon’ble High Court then in the same hearing said ‘the Centre was treating Punjab and Haryana like a ‘colony’.
Then the Hon’ble High Court specifically slammed the Education Minister of Haryana Mr. Ram Bilas Sharma for the generous grant of Rs. 51 lakhs very recently to the Dera. Then the Hon’ble High Court categorically strictured the Government officials briefing the High Court in the Court room for giving a misleading false information on number of vehicles in the convoy and they said give us the name of officer, we will take action against him’. In the same hearing, the Hon’ble High Court said ‘No one, the Centre in particular should not ‘abdicate or avoid its responsibility’. Each word of this is the High Court word. Then they said, ‘the central and State Governments have surrendered before the followers of ‘Dera Sacha Sauda’ for political considerations’. ‘This was a political surrender to allure a vote bank’. Unprecedented, not in living memory in the recent past at least anybody remembers, half as many strictures, of half as of much severity. Then ‘the CM is the Home Minister, why could you not prevent the crowd from gathering for the last 7 days. They were all outsiders but were allowed to enter Punchkula and occupy public space. You have been misleading us. There is a sea difference between administrative and political decisions. Administrative decisions were paralyzed because of political reasons. Can there be a bigger damaging indictment of the Central and the State Governments? And lastly they said ‘we want preventive action. It is visible in none of the State’s orders. It is really disheartening; this is the High Court speaking. I am quoting. The same thing happened during ‘Jat Agitation’. You are encouraging them. Where is the order prohibiting the assembly of 5 or more? This is a collusion charge. But forget the High Court words – much less the CM is shamelessly not offering his resignation, the Central Government is shamelessly not imposing President’s Rule. The Centre in the politics of ‘Zid’ is not asking its CM resign. Should the High Court order a tank to go and take the CM out from the CM’s residence? Is this democracy, is this the basic tenet of accountability and this is not a political party speaking. It is one of other saddest moments in Indian democracy and now I want you to contrast these words with the further rate pearls of wisdom I am going to read to you. These are truly pearls of wisdom which you and I should hang on certificate on our walls. After this, event, after the photo coverage which you have seen after the films, after the High Court, this is what is said – (1) one of the senior Ministers Mr. Ram Bilas Sharma in answer to the High Court says that 144 Section of the Cr. PC does not apply to the crowd that converged in Panchkula. Minister says it will not apply at this tri city of Panchkula, Chandigarh and Mohali. ‘Section 144 is not applicable to the followers of the faith’. You have to understand the true colour and character of this Government – both at the Centre and the State.
Second, the Chief Minister who spoke after a gap, said ‘authorities are doing a good job’. Three top officers of the State were present at the CM’s residence last night at dinner and Mr. Khatter appreciated the Police response and handling of the incident.
Then, Mr. Sakshi Maharaj who is the Member of the National Executive of BJP, apart from being a MP, the Mann Ki Baat does not address Mr Sakshi Maharaj. The Mann ki Baat does not address Mr. Ram Bilas Sharma. It only addresses us the Nation, the others – not the BJPwallahs. That is not Mann Ki Baat. Mr. Sakshi Maharaj says ‘I respect the judiciary, but I would want to say that crores of people are supporting Ram Rahim, only one person is complaining against him. Is one person right or crores of people are right’. Next time, there is a rape or murder, we will have a poll – an assembly poll we will have conducted under your auspices to decide whether that poll holds a person guilty of rape or murder or not and we will forget about the Courts, we will forget the law and order. Somebody asked me why did you not have preventive detention five days ago, why did you not pick up them, do you require a rocket science. This is the reason. There is not sympathy, there is empathy, there is support, there is collusion.
Mr. Manish Grover, Minister of Urban Local Bodies, says this and they are all gems, When there is a crowd of 50,000 to 1 lakh and they have devotion to Baba Ji, ‘To un mein ek natural gussa aata hai. Vo gussa aaya – it remained for an hour and two, then that was alright. Janta ko gussa kyon aata hai. Gussa to crowd ko aana chahiye’.
Then he says – when 50,000 – 1 their Guru, it is natural to have 36 deaths because their anger burst for their guru. Then, he says as the date of the hearing approach, his followers started moving towards Panchkula, when they entered, they entered in huge numbers, since these followers had such a relation with their Guru, they had commitment and devotion towards their ‘Baba’, therefore this happened. And then I have Mr. Anil Jain, BJP GS In-charge, who says Khatter Governemnt successfully managed to contain the situation within three hours with minimum possible damage.
I am aghast; I hope the country is shocked. I have never seen this inter-section, it happened in the tri-city, this is a tri-section of utter callousness, insensitivity of collusion and remarks by the BJP leaders and of the majesty of the Law. Fortunately one of those three inter sections includes the majesty of the Law otherwise you can imagine what would have happened with this kind of approach of the BJP Central and the State Government.
On the question of the quantum of sentence to Baba Ram Rahim, Dr. Singhvi said I do not think, it is necessary at all to comment on the quantum of punishment. The quantum of punishment need not be at all a subject matter of the political party’s comments. These are natural processes consequences of conviction and it is entirely between the accused and the Court which passes these orders after giving an opportunity to hear purely on the quantum of sentence. I do not think we are required to comment on it, but we have comments on far more important larger issues which impinch on the very fabric of our constitutional democracy.
On the question as to whom the Congress party gives credit, Dr. Singhvi said I think it is absolutely no achievement to establish no violence today after a very-very clear lesson taught to every administrative function on Friday. However, internal vigilance is necessary to preserve this peace. There must be absolute total ‘Bandobast’ free from all political and ulterior considerations and I will, therefore, reserve my final comment after that but it is no great achievement at all. What really is the issue is you had more than 5-7 days notice earlier. You utterly miserably failed.
To another question that the Court had to pass strictures, Dr. Singhvi said that the very VVIP treatment, Dr. Singhvi said it is post sentencing conduct – we all understand the super VVIP treatment meted out after post sentence. Obviously the whole country has to be aware and vigilant against that. Obviously that is the concern expressed by the Hon’ble High Court. However, it is too early to comment on it because imprisonment has not started yet but certainly it is a concern which we have seen in the case of many high profile accused and it is a concern which will be proved right or wrong within the next few days. There is, I think, lot of legitimacy in the demand that he should be relocated outside the State or at least outside of all Regional influence wherever he has influence, if within the State also. And I think that the next few days and weeks will be a test of the steely resolve and objectivity and impartiality of the prison and jail authorities.
On the question of the reaction of the Congress Party that the Chinese troops are retreating, Dr. Singhvi said this is a matter of the nation information; it is as matter of National security, there would be nobody happier than my Party, than me, if what has just been stated by you, is not the momentary truth but the stable longer term or at least medium truth. However, just like we should not go into panic mode as soon as something happens, we should not go into rejoicing mode the moment it is received. I can only join you with the entire Nation and hoping that this information which is coming is at least medium, if not long term true, stable and comprehensive and that unfortunately other conflicting information coming is untrue. For both together these things, I would expect the Central Government at a place and time of their choosing to share with us, the nitty-gritty and it would be great for the Nation, if this is true because this kind of tension on the Border is completely avoidable.
On the reaction of the Congress Party on the statement of Shri Jairam Ramesh, Dr. Singhvi said, I am only saying as far as your question regarding change is concerned, I do not think, anybody objects to suggestions for constructive and positive change. Equally it is a free country and Congressmen concerned about the situation are free to give constructive suggestion. As far as your second or third example is concerned, it is not you as far as the legal proceedings are concerned in any political sense, there were people Congress or non-Congress who were representing diverse sections in that legal dispute but I do agree with you that there is potential for misusing that judgment by the ruling dispensation for which we will be eternally vigilant, eternally active and watchful.