India is a democracy. But are we living in a democratic system? Is there rule of law in our nation? It seems not.
On September 9 Telangana Chief Minister (CM) Mr. K Chandrasekhar Rao lashed out at two television news channels in Warangal for allegedly “tarnishing” the image of Telangana people. Since June 16 the two TV channels have been blocked transmission by the Association of Telangana cable TV operators on the ground that these channels had aired programmes “denigrating the Telangana dialect, sentiment and feelings” of the people of the new state.
In a public function the C M declared:
“If they (TV channels) do not mend their attitude, I will teach them a lesson… Those who insult Telangana…We will bury them ten feet under the earth. We will break their necks and throw them out.”
As CM he has the muscle to do this! Earlier on the same day protesting TV journalists demanded that the ban on their channels be lifted. The police thrashed and arrested about 25 journalists who were later released. If the TV channels in question transgressed any law they could have been prosecuted by the government. Instead the CM resorted to mouthing invective and threats.
Not surprisingly the CM’s remarks evoked criticism. The Telangana unit of the BJP deplored the undemocratic conduct of the CM. The BJP Union Minister urged the CM to display restraint. Media and several opposition leaders have demanded that the CM issue a public apology.
It is these reactions that cause serious disquiet. Public apology? Is that all what is required from the CM after his open threat? Is there one law for citizens and another for ministers? Is there any attention at all paid to the laws of the land, least of all by those entrusted with the responsibility to implement them?
There are several laws in the Indian Penal Code against threats and intimidation issued by one citizen against another. Quoting just one law should suffice. Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code states:
“Punishment for criminal intimidation. — Whoever commits, the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both; If threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, etc. — And if the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, or to cause the destruction of any property by fire, or to cause an offence punishable with death or 1[imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, or to impute, unchastity to a woman, shall be punished with imprison¬ment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.”
In the light of this law has not the CM committed a crime? The President, PM and Governor are mute. Mr. Modi pledged swift action against crimes by politicians. He is silent. Isn’t it time to walk the talk, Mr. Prime Minister?