There is nothing more fallacious than Indian secularism. Because caste consciousness is too old and too deep-seated to be neutralized by a couple of ‘casual’ clauses in the constitution. Besides, the Hindu polity is highly communal and rigidly conservative. It is just not possible for a fragile sapling like secularism to take roots in such an unfriendly soil. Equally difficult is the task of evolving a truly democratic system in such a climate. The fact that communal Hindus form a permanent majority rules out justice and equality for minorities like Muslims, Sikhs, untouchables and Christians. The minorities can never hope to gain supremacy or even feudality through democratic processes. They are doomed to the fate of second class citizens, because the majority community is paying only lip service to secularism. It is using secularism more as a window dressing to mislead the outside world than as a moral commitment to legal and constitutions instrument. The post-independence history presents a sad spectacle of successive governments resorting to policy decisions based on short-term political expediency of pandering to the communal intolerance of the majority community rather than mobilizing it to adopt a fraternal and patronizing attitude towards the minorities. This policy pattern is singularly responsible for the “escalating scale and frequency of social violence in India. It is already clearly understood in India that there are wide range of conditions in which it is quite possible to get away with large scale murder. The results are profoundly destabilizing and demoralizing. A number of India’s leading civil liberties and human rights organization are convinced that government has become a partner in a process that is tearing India apart.”(The Turning Point). State gangsterism and terrorism through police and paramilitary forces have rendered all norms of the free world irrelevant.
A regimented fundamentalist suppression of the legitimate aspirations of the minorities is being carried out through black laws like The National Security (Amendment) Ordinance No. 5 and 6 1984. The Terrorist Affected Areas (Special Courts) NO. 9 of 1984 and the Amendment to Indian Evidence Act making it obligatory upon the accused to prove that he or she is innocent. Government white papers state anything but truth. Writing about the white paper issued after the Operation Bluestar, Justice V.M. Tarkunde says, “What is stated by the government’s White paper is far from the truth. The 4th of June, 1984 was wrongly chosen by the Army for an attack on the inmates of the Golden Temple because the 3rd of June being a Gurpurb (martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev Ji), a large number of pilgrims nearly 10,000, had come to stay in the temple. Many of them appeared to have been killed in the army action.”
“We found that the Army was hated not only by the common villager but by their own retired Havalders and Captains. Today the image of the Army is of a communal, corrupt, cruel and grossly insensitive force, Save ” he asserted.
“Ordinary citizen who becomes victim of Army’s arbitrary power is left without any channel for redress of his/her grievances. The section 7 of the Act lays down no prosecution, suit or other legal proceedings shall be instituted, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government, against any person in respect of anything done in exercise of powers conferred by this Act.’
“When the history is written of the horrors that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the 32nd block of Trilokpuri Colony will be remembered as a place where civilization disintegrated.”
Rone Tempest, L.A. Times
“She was accompanied by a completely dazed girl, hardly 16 years old. Widow of her recently married and recently butchered son. This young girl sat through her mother-in-law’s harrowing testimony shedding silent tears of grief and despair.”
Chief Justice Sikri, p 1.
Article extracted from this publication >> October 25, 1985