Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Kill the PM, Go Free

The Tamil Nadu Government, no doubt emboldened by the Supreme Court's decision to commute the death sentence of the seven men who plotted to assassinate former PM Rajiv Gandhi, has decided to free the men who have already served long sentences in prison. This movie smacks of political opportunism, a lack of patriotism and sets a dangerous precedent for the country as a whole. As Rahul Gandhi correctly pointed out: if a PM cannot get justice, how can a poor men even hope to?

The blame for this destruction of justice lies with the Congress and the political parties of Tamil Nadu, which continue to create strains between Tamilians and other people of the great Indian nation for petty political gains. The Congress deserves the greatest of blame for sitting on the mercy petitions for 11 years, although it can be said that a part of those years were under the NDA Government. The Congress, since the days of Indira Gandhi, has made it a habit to further erode every institution that our founding fathers established for the sake of votes. Case after case was held up at the President's desk for decades, all because the Cabinet kept dithering for political causes. When the system of Presidential pardon was established, the idea behind it was that mercy is something beyond the Supreme Court and above justice, brought about by circumstances that cannot be addressed by the usual rule of law. It was not established to allow the Cabinet to subsume justice for political gains. If anybody is to be blamed, it is the Congress party and its sacrifice of Constitutional institutions and values at the altar of votes against all principles.

Blame also goes to the politicians of Tamil Nadu, who have failed to provide good governance to the people and instead use cheap sub-nationalism to win votes. They must choose where their loyalties lies: to the Indian Union or to their own, rather divided, ethnic group. It is not acceptable to the nation to see the murders of our Prime Minister walking free. Those fringe groups in Tamil Nadu who believe that the assassination is justified must choose between the Indian nation and their sub-nationalism. This might seem unfair, but this is no ordinary issue. If an attack on Parliament was a direct attack on Indian democracy and the nation itself, then so was the assassination of our Prime Minister.

One can only hope that henceforth, every President will make it a priority to clear mercy petitions swiftly. Otherwise, the very idea of mercy becomes polluted. 

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