August 12, 2017

India: With its angry words against the outgoing vice president, BJP indicts itself - Editorials, The Indian Express and Times of India

The Indian Express

Don’t talk, listen

With its angry words against the outgoing vice president, BJP indicts itself, not Ansari

By: Editorial | Published:August 12, 2017

In his farewell speech, outgoing vice president Hamid Ansari quoted S. Radhakrishnan: “A democracy is distinguished by the protection it gives to minorities. A democracy is likely to degenerate into tyranny if it does not allow the opposition groups to criticise fairly, freely and frankly… But at the same time, minorities also have their responsibilities…” Those are wise words that must be heeded in any liberal democracy. But India’s ruling party hasn’t done so. As he steps down from his office, the BJP has caricatured and stereotyped Ansari’s message, expressed in that parting speech and in other public forums. It has tried to shoot the messenger, by casting aspersions and imputing motives. [ . . . ]
FULL TEXT: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/dont-talk-listen-vice-president-hamid-ansari-farewell-speech-pm-narendra-modi-bjp-4792714/

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Heed the message: Departing Veep points out uncomfortable reality

August 12, 2017, 2:00 AM IST TOI Edit in TOI Editorials | Edit Page, India | TOI

Departing Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s farewell speech was unexceptionable and balanced, and it’s hard to see why BJP is in such a tizzy about it. If statements such as “a democracy is distinguished by the protection it gives to minorities, but at the same time, the minorities also have their responsibilities” are deemed “political” in an unprecedented way, it’s worth remembering that is a direct quote from Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, India’s distinguished former president who can hardly be accused of being ignorant of constitutional responsibilities.

Perhaps what has upset BJP is previous references by Ansari to rising insecurity among minorities, sparked by a trend of food bans, vigilantism and ‘beef’ lynchings which target them. 
But this sense of insecurity is indubitably the case, and it needs to be addressed rather than swept under the carpet. It is alarming, for example, that the Maharashtra government wants to revive a law that would allow police to raid people’s homes looking for proscribed meats, despite its having been struck down by the Bombay High Court. The law, incidentally, also overturned a basic axiom of Indian jurisprudence: that everyone is deemed innocent until proven guilty.

If such a law comes into force there should no prizes for guessing which community will be targeted most, although anyone can potentially be harassed by authorities. It would not only open the floodgates to greater corruption and extortion, it would also destroy social harmony. Attempts to set up such draconian legislation cast a new light on the right to privacy case currently being litigated before the Supreme Court, where the government is arguing against granting such a right to citizens. Suddenly a lot more seems to be at stake in the Supreme Court’s upcoming privacy judgment than just Aadhaar or data security.