Incorrect diagnosis is inevitably followed by wrong medication resulting in complicating rather than curing the malady. This is precisely what is happening in the Punjab. The only difference is that the incorrect diagnosis is not accidental or error of judgment but a deliberate and mischievous politics. Intelligent Indians and responsible leaders agree and some have even categorically and repeatedly stated that the Punjab problem was not a law and order problem and it would not admit police or military solution. But the policy makers in Delhi continue to treat it as a law and order problem.

In pursuance of this Machiavellian policy, the Ray and Ribeiro team has used every conceivable ammunition in its arsenal, including extensive fake encounters and recruitment of “vigilante” squads of hardened criminals to check the growing militancy, but all in vain.

The past week was the bloodiest in Punjab since the days of Operation Wood-rose when hundreds of Sikh youths were mercilessly butchered by the army. The spurt in violence closely followed the tall claims made by Ribeiro and his men that the situation was fully under-control and the militants were on the run. The count of over hundred dead mocks at their hollow claims. The truth, however unpalatable it may be for Delhi, is that police repression has not only further strengthened the resolve of the militants but provoked a sizeable number of Sikh youths to join their crusading brethren. Rajiv’s government knows that its policy has miserably failed but it will not give it up because peace in Punjab does not fit in the electoral arithmetic’s of Rajiv.

No sensible person has any misgivings about his evil intentions anymore. His moves are so very transparent. He gives a damn to national interests or to the loss of innocent human lives so long as he can keep himself securely saddled. He has no ideology, no principles, and no direction, but only himself.

Rajiv was able to successfully dupe the ignorant multitudes in 1984 and he may yet repeat his performance if the Indian intelligentsia once again displayed Jack of vision and foresight to comprehend criminalization of politics and personalization of the power structure by him. He is running the government like a Mafia boss with a cynical disregard for the judicial processes and institutions. Yet the Indian media and intelligentsia slavishly laps up whatever rubbish is fed to them by the mass myth makers in the Research and Analysis Wing.

Hundreds of articles have appeared in newspapers. And magazines and dozens of books have been written about the problem in the Punjab. Unfortunately not a single study out of the black and white pile qualifies to be marked honest, objective or scientific. Each one of them proceeds from the fictional premises provided by the public relations department of the government. Each one of them ritualistically recommends “carrot and stick” policy — carrot for the masses and stick for the militants. Each one emphatically rules out dialogue with the militants and insists on branding brave self-sacrificing sons of the Sikh nation as “terrorists.”

The media and the intelligentsia need to correct its perceptions and remove the myopic smoke-screen of misinformation from their minds if they wish to search for a workable solution to the Punjab tangle. They must forthwith stop branding militants as “terrorists” and must unequivocally condemn state terrorism, fake encounters, Ribeiro’s Red Guards and Alam Sena. They must tell the Indian people that indiscriminate killing of innocent bus passengers, farmers, shop keepers and laborers is not the handiwork of militants but that of the government hired assassins. They must build up enough public pressure to get murderers like H.K.L. Bhagat, Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar punished. Most importantly, they must strive for restoring the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

This is the minimum that Indian Intelligentsia must do to create a psychologically congenial climate. Despite the fact that investigative journalism is widely practices in India, no effort has been made to probe the murders of Sikhs in fake encounters, police interrogation cells or by Red Guards. No editorial was written calling for Ribeiro’s arrest and trial for illegally pursuing “bullet for bullet” policy. No notice was taken of the reports by judicial commissions headed by Justice Tiwana and Justice Bains. The truth is that depraved Congress (I) culture has steadily grown into national perversity. Sikhs find it totally unacceptable and are keen to get rid of it. This is the crux of the problem and solution lies in addressing it directly and courageously.

Article extracted from this publication >> November 18, 1988