Thursday, November 10, 2005

Kocheril Raman Narayanan

K.R.Narayanan, former president of India has passed away yesterday. He is the first Dalit President. He was supposed to be a Man of letters personally, a great diplomat professionally and a secularist politically, although I personally never had any regard for him owing to his style of functioning and specifically for his reaction in two incidents.

The first reference is to a clemency petition that was made by two Christian dalits who have been convicted and awarded capital punishment in a case famously known as "Chilakaluripet Bus burning case". The convicted indulged in a gruesome act of roasting 21 passengers alive who are aboard a bus that was on its way to Chilakaluripet, a small town in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.

The convicted stopped and boarded the bus (hardly couple of kilometres away from its destination ) in the wee hours and tried to rob the passengers and as a measure to threaten them sprayed petrol and lit the bus. 21 passengers were charred to death. After the henious act the culprits had no remorse, instead enjoyed movies, alcohol and wandered in agritcultural fields around the place of crime. When an award was initiated to capture the culprits, one of them appeared before the police on the pretext of supplying clues for capture of the criminals. The police doubted the man whose hands were burnt and arrested him and his accomplice only to find out that they were the perpetrators of the crime.

All courts from district level to the apex have awarded and confirmed capital punishment to the convicted and finally the clemency petition was made to the then president Shankar Dayal Sharma during the fag end of his tenure. The strong Christian lobby and its protagonist George Fernandes left no stone unturned in building support to the "great cause" of awarding clemency to the convicted. I have read news paper reports, that they even wanted to broach the topic with the then President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela who was visiting India, to have the approval of clemency petition recommended by him. Myself and my paternal uncle wrote a letter to the president Shankar Dayal Sharma asking him not to award clemency explaining the details of the case as to why they don't deserve it. We reminded him of "Nishkama Karma Yoga" as propounded in Bhagavatgeeta.

Alas! Before the file has come to the president's office, Shankar Dayal Sharma's term ended and K.R Narayanan assumed office and the first thing he did was to award clemency to these incorrigible culprits ignoring the plight and agony of the family members, relatives and friends of those 21 people who have been baked to death. A newspaper even quoted a family member saying that, if the mercy petition is approved, the common man will loose confidence in the legal system.

I was residing in Chilakaluripet when the henious incident occurred and happened to visit the place of crime. The sight of the burnt bus was disturbing. Dead bodies couldn't be identified because they got roasted and the kith and kin were given remains by literally scratching them from the body of the bus to perform the last rites. They didn't even know if the "remains" they got belonged to their family member or not.

Did the convicts deserve clemency? Why was the president so merciful towards the convicted when they weren't towards the passengers?

The second reference is to the riots in Gujarat. In the wake of Godhra incident where in 56 Hindus who were traveling in Sabarmati express were burnt alive by Muslim fundamentalists, riots have started in Gujarat. K.R.Narayanan didn't talk, condemn the incident of Godhra, nor did he mourn for the lives of those 56 Hindus, but was quick enough in condemning the riots and quicker in painting Narendra Modi black. He has even written a "strong" letter to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee about the riots.

K.R.Narayanan had been selective in using his words as "man of letters" for certain sections of the society, has used all his skills as"diplomat" when atrocities have been committed by them and yet remained "secular".

None of the words in English language trouble me more than the word "secular". The reason being the meaning of this word changes with situations, community of people involved in the situation and the context. All my efforts all through my life to understand the true meaning of this word have failed. I sometimes wonder if there would be any other country in this world other than India, where the interest of the majority community is not taken into consideration for making policy decisions. Being a Hindu sometimes gives me identity crisis.


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At Thursday, November 10, 2005 12:56:00 PM, Blogger Vinod Reddy said...

This article is very good. First I would like to appreciate you for the insights you have on this topic.

Awarding clemency to the Chilkaluripeta offenders is a sad thing and it is clear sign of lack of transparency in the legal system.
I fully agree with you that it is a case of manipulation and George Fernandez did it to protect the interests of his community (rather the his interest on vote bank).
If we not discussing the community involvement part of it, this also reminds me case like Manohar ( for killing an innocent girl in broad day light and still managed to escape the hanging).
As you rightly said, India is the only country (apart from Rwanda where the 15 % minority section won a guerrilla war) to have a bit minority community impact. Community issues are part of any system. Remember the Fiji country issue (Where President Mahendra, an Indian origin was attacked by the majority section) and we promptly backed him because we are Indians too.
Our ancient Hindu system is so strong and matured that the acceptance is accoladed by the entire world. We have accepted Muslims, Christians and gave a free let off to strong religions like Buddhism and Jainism with out any objection.
We have now a Muslim President, Sikh Prime Minister, Christian Ruling party President (a Foreigner too) and a Christian Chief Minister. All minorities. People have accepted and country has no communal riots even after a situation like this.
India is a country with ethics .Hinduism is the prime reason for this and with out which we would also be mad freaks like US and UK.
Religion plays a great role in development of the country and as long as it is accepted nothing goes wrong.
You will still see hardcore religious leaders trying their bit to back their community but still find people like Mother Teresa.
The ethics thought by the great religion of India will not allow to deter the Country in any form.

Vinod Reddy

At Thursday, November 10, 2005 8:45:00 PM, Blogger Ritesh Garg said...

No comments today... too busy!!

At Friday, January 25, 2013 10:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just came to know that,

the lawyer who fought the case on behalf of culprits died of spinal cancer at younger age.

look at George fernandes...

God will see all

At Tuesday, February 12, 2013 10:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes god is there. he punished
mr chandrasekhar rao UNHUMAN
activitis/crimanal protecting activist.
he died with cancer at just
47 years after suffered a lot
with cancer.



At Monday, February 18, 2013 6:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most inappropriate decision taken by the then President was granting pardon to Gantala Vijayavardhan Rao and Chalapathi Rao. Playing the caste card to get off the hook such monstrous and inhuman criminals by the human (read inhuman) rights activists was a dark day in the Indian History. What about the family family members of those 23 bus passengers who were burnt alive. These fellows were rightly sentenced to death but inappropriately commuted to life imprisonment.

At Thursday, March 07, 2013 3:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People, You are just showing the dark side of your self by celebrating on Mr Chandrasekhar's death. I disagree with him on the C Peta case, but what has his death got to do with it? Leave it.

Are these 2 guys in prison indefinitely or is it the 14 years life imprisonment kind of thing? If its the latter, thats a effing slap on those 27 souls.

At Sunday, July 27, 2014 10:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would heart fully appreciate for this article.
Every indian must read this.

At Friday, January 30, 2015 7:30:00 PM, Blogger vivek narasimham said...

its very unfortunate to have such a low class presidents to our country....

At Friday, January 30, 2015 7:31:00 PM, Blogger vivek narasimham said...

it is very unfortunate that we have such a nasty president

At Friday, January 30, 2015 7:32:00 PM, Anonymous vivek said...

its very unfortunate to have such a low class presidents to our great country


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