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PRELIMINARY FACT-FINDING REPORT OF WOMEN’S GROUPS INTO THE INCIDENT OF GANG RAPE OF 5 ADIVASI WOMEN IN KHUNTI

CONTINUING REPRESSION IN GHAGHRA AND NEIGHBOURING VILLAGES IN KHUNTI & ARAKI DISTRICTS OF JHARKHAND

Press Release

Date: 04 July 2018

Following up on media reports of the gang rape of 5 adivasi women in Kochang, Araki block, Khunti district while holding street plays on anti-trafficking, WSS constituted a fact-finding team comprising women’s groups from different states and local activists from Jharkhand to investigate into the incident. The fact-finding was held over 3 days, from 28 June to 30 June, in and around Khunti, Kochang, Ranchi and neighbouring areas, to gather further information on the incident and subsequent developments, as the only narrative available to the public was that of the administration, and the media did not carry information from independent and alternative sources. During the fact-finding, the team met with several persons and institutions related to the incident and with information on the case. The team also attempted to meet with the 5 survivors, currently under the custody of the Khunti police., but was not granted access.  Though we did seek appointments to meet with the district collector and S.P., they did not meet us.

Through the course of the fact-finding, several facts have emerged which throw into question the narrative of the police.

Facts emerging from the fact-finding

  1. The incident of gang rape against the 5 women performing street plays on anti-trafficking occurred on 19 June 2018 in Kochang village, Araki block. The street plays were a collaboration between , a home for rescued women, managed by the RC Mission in Jharkhand, and a troupe belonging to an NGO. Out of the 5 survivors (all adults) , two were those who had been under the care and protection of the organization affiliated with the mission, and 3 belonged to the troupe of the NGO. In the first FIR lodged by the head of the NGO, he alleges that the Sisters accompanying the troupe from the RC Mission pressured the troupe on holding the performance in Kochang. However, as per information gathered from several other sources, by 19 June, the troupe had already completed their planned 16 performances in the district, and it was on the persistence of the head of the NGO that the others reluctantly agreed to also hold another performance in Kochang, as he said he had already made announcements far and wide.
  2. The incident occurred on 19 June 2018, but two FIRs were filed on the incident, one at the Khunti PS and the other at the Khunti Mahila PS, only on 21 June 2018. As per our inquires, we believe that the police had already received information of the offence at least as early as 20 June. On 20 June itself, the police had called one of the two Sisters who were also a part of the troupe for questioning, and later in the night, had brought 2 of the 5 survivors (those who were in the NGO's troupe) for their preliminary medical examination, and on 21 June, a board was constituted as per law for the medico-legal examination of all 5 survivors. It is not known how, and from whom, the police first received information of the offence. As per our inquiries, the thana first received information of the offence directly from the SP office.
  3. The FIRs identify Father Alphonse and ‘other unidentified persons/ pathalgarhi supporters’ as the accused. However, there is videographic evidence of the incident. One week after the incident, the police released the photo of one of the accused from the same video, who is well known by the locals and journalists as Baji Samant, who is not a pathalgarhi supporter but a resident of a different village, Sarai-kela. all other sources we spoke to including those form near by villages said  that the 4 men who came on bikes (the suspects) were not from the area.
  4. While it is being projected in the media that Father Alphonse was arrested for not doing enough to prevent the incident, and for failing to report the case to the police, in the FIR he is accused of a range of very grave offences, most of which are non-bailable. Offences included in the FIR lodged at Mahila thana by one of the survivors on 21 June include: wrongful restraint, wrongful confinement, voluntarily causing hurt, disrobing, gang rape, kidnapping, kidnapping with intent to wrongfully confine and conspiracy. Offences in the other FIR lodged by the head of the NGO also on 21 June include: wrongful restraint, wrongful confinement, voluntarily causing hurt, causing hurt by means of poison, kidnapping, kidnapping with intent to wrongfully confine, criminal intimidation, hiding evidence and conspiracy.
  5. As per our inquiries, apart from Father Alphonse, two other persons have been arrested by the police. The police claim that these two accused have further identified 3 others as co-accused, who they claim are leaders of the Pathalgarhi movement. On asking whether the identity of all 5 identified accused and their claims have been verified by the 5 survivors, we were told that only the SP office will respond to all queries about the incident.
  6. On 26 June, the police claimed to have raided Ghaghra village in order to arrest these three other named suspects in the gang-rape who are also ‘leaders’ of the pathalgarhi movement. On this day, residents of Ghaghra and some from neighbouring villages were holding a Gram Sabha meeting on the issue of pathalgarhi, and we received no confirmation of the presence of any of these 3 named suspects at the meeting. The police force, initially comprising only adivasi personnel, but later also joined by more force, the DC , SP and others, attempted to stop the Gram Sabha meeting, after which there was an altercation between the people and the police. It was during this process that the women residents chased the police to the house of Karia Munda, and brought back three deployed guards with them.
  7. On 27 June, a 1000-member strong force of CRPF, RAF, JAF and personnel from other units raided Ghaghra (a village with a population of around 300) and neighbouring 7 villages. Out of these 7  villages, pathalgarhi had only been declared in 3 or 4 villages. Out of the 2 villages where pathalgarhi had been initiated, the security forces unleashed brutal violence in the form of beatings and atrocities on men, women and children, lathi-charge, tear-gassing and rubber pellet shootings, and also raided the homes of the residents. One person died in the lathi-charge, a minor girl suffered fracture, and between 150-300 persons, including women in substantial numbers, were arrested. After the raids, residents of all 8 villages have fled to the forest and nearby areas out of fear and terror. The security forces continue to camp outside the villages even after the so-called abducted guards returned safely on 29 June. The fact-finding team attempted to also enter Ghaghra village for inquiries, but were refused access by the heavy numbers of security personnel deployed outside the village, and the roads were blocked with armed vehicles.

The investigations of the Fact-Finding team raise the following questions:

  1. How and when did the police first get information of the incident? Why was an FIR not filed immediately but only 2 days later?
  2. Why were two of the survivors taken for a surreptitious medical examination on the night of 20 June, followed by a full medical examination of all 5 survivors on 21 June?
  3. When there was video recording of the incident, why was the FIR filed against ‘unidentified’ persons? Why did the police not pursue the accused, Baji Samant, identified in the video, despite being aware of his name and address? While it storms into unconnected villages of the pathalgarhi movement under the pretext of arresting the rapists.
  4. Why did the police raid the Gram Sabha meeting in Ghaghra where the pathalgari event was ongoing on the pretext of arresting the accused, when they knew that the accused belonged to another area, Sarai-Kela?
  5. Why have the police not verified the identity of the 2 persons arrested thus far by the survivors? Also, why have the police not verified the identity of three suspects being pursued by the police by the survivors, but instead only by the two suspects who are already in the custody of the police? Also, if Yusuf Purti has not been named by any of the arrested accused or the survivors, then why is the police projecting him and other Pathalgarhi leaders/ supporters as the rape accused in their proceedings and the media?
  6. Why are the girls still under the custody of the police? Why are they not being allowed to meet or speak to anyone (except the NCW team)?
  7. Who is head of the NGO which was a part of the troupe and who has filed the first FIR? Where has he disappeared after filing the FIR on the incident with the police? Is he also under the custody of the police?

Conclusions of the investigations into the incident by the fact-finding team:

  1. The Jharkhand police and administration are maintaining utmost secrecy in the actions and proceedings subsequent to the incident. As of now all information about the incident, the statement of the survivors and the witnesses is coming form only one source – The SP office. On the pretext of keeping the 5 survivors in the protective custody of the police, they have not been allowed to meet or speak with anyone, including their families and other care-givers, except the NCW team. The organizations to which they belong have also been not allowed to speak with press or any one else. The staff of that organization has also been ordered to stay within the organization premises and are not allowed to admit visitors or speak to anyone.  We also found out that the families of these women have not been informed by the police about the incident. In the whole incident, their voice (who are all adults, some of who are married and have children) is completely missing. There has been no statement from them, their families or friends. At the same time, the quick escalation of police action in the days after the incident has focused entirely on a campaign to tarnish pathalgarhi movements and leaders, with the result that investigations into the gang-rape and safety of the survivors have assumed secondary importance.
  2. The legal proceedings subsequent to the incident are shrouded in doubt, as these are based entirely on the questionable narrative proposed by the police and Jharkhand administration, without any avenues for independent verification and corroboration. This, combined with the subsequent repression by security forces has created a reign of terror for the residents of Khunti and neighbouring areas, further undermining chances of independent verification.
  3. In the name of pursuing unidentified suspects, the police has artificially linked those associated with the pathalgarhi movement with the gang rape, and has unleashed targeted persecution, harassment and arrests on them. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that the 4 bikers who committed the crime were not localites. One of those from the video has been identified as Baji Samant, resident of neighbouring Sarai-Kela. Yet, instead of pursuing these identifiable accused, the police, with the support of security personnel, is targeting pathalgarhi leaders as the prime suspects in the case.
  4. The targeting of the mission and mission run organization- It has been projected that the Father of the mission in Kochang has been arrested for not doing enough to stop the incident, or for failing to report when he had knowledge of the incident. The NCW is now projecting the whole incident as being pre-planed. The charges against Father Alphonse in the FIR are of a much more serious degree, carrying offences of gang-rape, wrongful restraint, conspiracy, among a range of others.
  5. The role of the media in the entire process has also been suspicious, with local and national newspapers and media channels widely misreporting on the incident, based on false and distorted facts. The media has concertedly cast adivasis, pathalgarhi supporters and the Church/ Mission organisations in a negative light in the absence of verifiable information. The press was also present in large numbers in the security camp prior to and during the raids on 27 June in Ghaghra, and was relaying the police version directly from the frontlines.

For these reasons, the fact-finding team demands:

The institution of an independent inquiry into the incident, through a high-level committee, comprising retired Judges, lawyers and women’s rights activists.

The police Investigation of this incident should not be conducted under the influence of the Khunti administration or police , it should be carried out by an independent agency.

An inquiry should be carried out not only of the incident of the alleged gang rape , but also of the aftermath , in which the police crackdown that caused the death of one person and many sustained grave injuries. We also demand the withdrawl of all security personnel currently camped outside Ghaghra and neighbouring villages.

All the safety of the women survivors is very important, their own agency too has to be kept in mind. It is not clear whether they have asked for protective custody or was it a decision taken  by the police?. To a large extent it seems like the latter. Keeping them cloistered and under the complete control of Khunti police can not allow for a fair inquiry.

The team also demands that the state government ensure the immediate removal of the 5 survivors  from the control of the Khunti police and some alternative safe arrangement be made for them, taking into consideration their own choice. In the present situation it is evident that they have not been given that choice and have been forced into this protective custody by the police. Some of the women have children and it is very possible that they may want to return to their families or the organization that they were living in.

- Rinchin, Radhika and Puja,

from Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression and Sexual Repression (WSS)

Women against sexual violence and state repression is a non funded national initiative to challenge and put an end to the violence being perpetrated upon womens bodies. We are a nation wide network of women activist, lawyers, writers and women connected  womens groups ,mass organizations and civil liberty groups. We unequivocally condemn sexual violence on women and girls by any perpetrators.

www.wssnet.org

Contact: againstsexualviolence@gmail.com

1

A meeting of the central office bearers of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) held in New Delhi yesterday decided to support the idea of a Long March of the Dispossessed to Delhi to demand a special session of Parliament called entirely to discuss the serious agrarian crisis in the country.

This unprecedented agrarian crisis is reflected in the lakhs of suicides of debt-ridden peasants; the thousands of deaths of children and women due to starvation and malnutrition; the abysmal state of rural education and public health; the massive increase in rural unemployment and landlessness; and the unheard-of rise in economic and social inequality in the country.

There is now not an iota of doubt that this grave situation has been aggravated by the neo-liberal policies followed by the ruling classes during the last two and a half decades. The last four years have thoroughly exposed the Modi government as the most anti-farmer, anti-worker, pro-corporate and pro-imperialist government in Independent India. Along with this is its rabidly communal, casteist and divisive character.

The AIKS appeals to the broadest sections of progressive, democratic and secular organizations and individuals in the country who are sensitive to the intense pain and hardships being faced by farmers, both men and women, and their children, to support this idea of a Long March of the Dispossessed, to participate in it in huge numbers and to help it in any way that they can.

The AIKS appeals to all sections of farmers, agricultural workers, the working class, the middle class, students, youth and socially oppressed sections like women, Dalits, Adivasis, Minorities and others to support and join this Long March of the Dispossessed.

After a wider consultation with all concerned organizations and individuals, the date and programme of the March can be decided with consensus.

In the meanwhile, the AIKS calls upon all its units throughout the country to make a massive success of the three campaigns and agitations that have already been decided:

1. The 10 crore countrywide signature campaign on the burning demands of the peasantry;

2. The nationwide district-level Jail Bharo stir by lakhs of peasants and workers on August 9, Quit India Day;

3. The massive five lakh-strong All India Mazdoor-Kisan Rally in Delhi on September 5 organised jointly by the CITU, AIKS and AIAWU.

Dr Ashok Dhawale
President Hannan Mollah General Secretary
All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS)

2

I am often challenged about my political views, because I am "anti-BJP". So naturally, BJP trolls imagine that I am a Congressi, or Commie or Aaptard depending on what day of the week it is, I suppose. I don't support any political party. I don't have a preference for any political ideology. I don't have any preference for economic policy - as long as it is fair and does not disadvantage citizens by class. I see India as a shared space for all citizens, but I don't insist that you must obey me. I support and oppose all political parties depending on what they are up to - with one seeming exception - the BJP. This is because I don't see BJP as a political party at all. I see it as a cartel of opportunists at best and criminals at worst depending on what is going on. In my view, they have amassed power by hook or crook, telling blatant lies and faking their way to the top and have no regard for the well being of the country whatsoever. Here are further observations toward this.

Incompetence being a virtue with Modi sarkar

Ever since the election win to now, all the appointments by Modi sarkar have had one overwhelming common factor - the people appointed are spectacularly bad for the roles they are appointed. And this is not because of a lack of good people, but because to be appointed, an important requirement is that the people do not have any particular ambition for excellence that could get in the way of compromises that would be made for profit. Even a right wing Modi supporting professional would find it necessary to object if blatant wrongs were done - it is easier for the profiteers to have incompetent people there.

The list is endless and mentioned well here, but for a quick gist - the RBI governor who would face NPAs as among his hardest challenges is Urjit Patel, who has more experience governing the GSPC defaulting on loans than paying them. With a galaxy of outstanding actors kowtowing before the government in public and even making the sort of bigotted statements that appeal to the BJP crowd, the choice for FTII was Gajendra Chauhan. Gajendra who? Exactly. Ankit Fadia, absolutely sneered at among serious hacking/coding circles for being a "script kiddie" at best - was appointed as Digital India's brand ambassador - BJP with its legions of trolls and endless website launches hardly lacked good coders. Smriti Irani who could have served the FTII better than Gajendra Chauhan at least, was chosen to be the Minister of HRD - the biggest wrongdoing by her that was attracting attention was her faking educational qualifications. As HRD Minister, she would also be overseeing education. Including that of those far more educated than her.

The list goes on and on and on, but the basic point is this, deliberately putting incompetent people in key positions is an act that harms India and it is consistently done by the BJP government to the point that there is no doubt that it is deliberate. It is an intentional undermining of India. And there is a reason. A professional who takes pride in his work is likely to take pride in governing to high standards. Also a person who is authoritative about their subject is unlikely to have the kind of blackmail triggers that BJP likely uses to create puppets for its corrupt purposes - more on that later. That makes the blatant perversion of quality in the country going on harder. For example, would an excellent professional simply nod and agree if cronies were allowed to profit from every sector they could? Would a professional agree to favor incompetent and unlicenced cronies on critical things that could result in dead people? This, I see as a direct attack on India. BJP is an absolute enemy of India in my eyes. It is not a political party merely ideologically differing with others on how India should be governed, it is an entity that has absolutely no priority of excellence for the country or even preservation.

Denial of the achievements of India

In their process of ideologically wiping out their much hated Congress, the BJP consistently defames the country. Over and over. Relentlessly. There isn't much to say here, because it is an outright falsehood, so I simply quote a disgruntled Congress supporter "If the Congress hadn't brought India from a struggling colony to the tech age, this blight (Modi-BJP) would not be inflicted on the country with their false propaganda."

Inhumanity

BJP operates through a process of dehumanization. Dehumanization is necessary in order to make people hate. No one likes to think of themselves as malicious to another human being. When they are reduced to hollow symbols of evil and stripped of all identity beyond that, it becomes possible to absolutely want the extinction of a "concept" you have been taught as harmful. The crazy buggers spewing hate on a daily basis can do that, because they have been conditioned to see anyone not BJP through various lenses that they have been taught. No one independently comes up with identical labels for any entity, because independent minds operate in diverse ways. Even all critics of BJP and Modi will have their own reasons and methods and they may even vary from subject to subject, mood or time. In contrast, those spewing hate will have very specific reasons for very specific categories of people - this is because the information provided to convince them what "reality" is, is the same.

Those who see Muslims hunting Hindu girls when a government action fails massively don't realize that they are being used to leverage nuisance value and misdirect attention from issues important to the well being of the country. It is not possible that thousands of supporters of one party alone actually have seen Muslims target women and others haven't. But they have been told so many times and in such convincing ways, that the stories they are told become real to them. Then all it takes is for whoever is controlling the propaganda to trigger the outrage when needed. Earlier it used to be subtle. Private groups and whatsapp and such. Now it is in the open, with most news channels discussing the demonetisation and other news of importance to the country, the Republic was busy broadcasting a victimhood narrative. Hindu khatare mein hai! The programmed trigger for bhakts to start attacking people who are not BJP for whatever latest threat has been announced.

With BJP getting less than a third of the votes, this basically targets the vast majority of the country for bullying with various labels and insults. This is basically creating a culture of cruelty and the only people benefitting are the leaders and cronies of BJP - even the supporters will actually lead less satisfying relationships because their minds are constantly bombarded with behavioral triggers to be intolerant. Such a mind finds the world divided into two types of people - those in agreement and those not. And it does not stop with the online world of politics. Once conditioned to be inhuman to those who disagree, the mind will tend to react in such a manner to all disagreement. Quality of life and relationships will be considerably undermined, unless they manage to live among people who always agree with them.

The profiteering cartel that is BJP

It is hard to find a single large group of people - particularly people with criminal leaders or members that is not affiliated with the BJP. This is not an accident. BJP has gone around collecting people - regardless of political ideology - to support them electorally. It appears that being a criminal is actually preferred - possibly so BJP has CBI investigation blackmail leash. There are businesses exploiting the resources of the country with no checks and balances in sight. Various godmen are undercutting established manufacturers on prices and cornering markets - not because their quality is better, but because their business being religion, is tax free - even inferior quality FMCG products. Entire monopolies are being created. Crazy godmen are sheltered from law in return for votes from their massive followings. Even a "corrupt Congressi" like Nilekani has been able to impose his globalist scam of Aadhaar with far more impunity with this cartel than he ever could with the Congress in rule and acting on public demands for committees and such (even though the Congress is no innocent). Politicians accused of crimes and corruption by BJP have switched parties to join the BJP and in many instances contest on seats and win. It is a cartel of criminals and profiteers becoming a monolith and giving each other impunity. And this too has been dishonest. Economically disadvantaged groups were exploited for electoral profit and discarded after winning. Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh - the labour wing of the RSS has suffered like all other labourers in the country and protested and objected and complained with no interest from the government whatsoever in improving the conditions of workers.

The Swabhimani Shetkari Sangh representing farmers in Maharashtra has withdrawn support for the BJP after three years of farmers being betrayed by them after being elected. They had vigorously protested the cattle slaughter ban as well. To no avail. The rapist godman Ram Rahim who was affiliated with the BJP, whose supporters were allowed to amass and intimidate the High Court prior to his verdict were dumped once he was convicted and became a political liability. Other rapists are still enjoying protection as long as they hand the votes over to BJP. Today after fifty kinds of "reasons for demonetisation" dodges, Arun Jaitley admitted, as this blog had immediately pointed out among many others, that the demonetisation was done to encourage the country to move to digital payments. Yes, you hear that right. The finance minister of the country had absolutely no problem with an economic assault on the country that devastated lives and livelihoods - to promote payment products.

There is no resemblance to a political party. There is no attempt whatsoever to represent the interests of the people. This is why I say I am politically completely neutral. I am anti-BJP because I am anti-criminal cartels. I don't see them as a party. It doesn't walk, talk or act like a party, therefore to me it isn't one.

I received this email from Change.org - it was Women and Child Minister for India - Maneka Gandhi petitioning for policy ideas! Whacky, but this is a government for the absurd. I delted the email and forgot about it, till Swarna Rajgopalan asked about it on Twitter. Someone had forwarded the email to her. She couldn't find the link to the petition. So I dug it out of the trash, and went through the email. This is it. As it is. There is no petition it is a carefully crafted promotion of a government form that looks like a notification for a new petition. Additionally, the sender for the change.org email is "Maneka Gandhi" and not "Change.org" as for usual petitions.

change.org email notification from Maneka Gandhi
change.org email notification from Maneka Gandhi

As a bonus, thelink to the privacy policy from their email gives a 404 error - page not found. Obviously it is a broken link, but what a poetic metaphor for their actions contained in their own email!

Dear Vidyut,

I am writing to you to see if you have a new idea for women safety and empowerment.

We at the Ministry of Women & Child Development have formulated the National Policy for Women. It has been a 2 year process with several stakeholder consultations.

This transformative policy will address the needs of women in the New India and also guide the functioning of the Government in decades to come.

We have a draft ready and before we conclude it, I am seeking some out-of-the-box ideas and suggestions from you that could be incorporated into the policy.

Vidyut, I have been happy to take action on Change.org petitions supported by you. We have taken steps to ease the passport rules for children of single parents and control the alarming rates of caesarean section births.

I would now like to hear your suggestions for this policy by the 15th May 2017. Click on this link to submit your suggestion.

You can also send your suggestions on Twitter and on the Facebook page of the Ministry. Don’t forget to add#NationalPolicy4Women on all your suggestions.

Thank you for participating in developing this Policy for Women.

Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Minister For Women and Child Development

Want to change something?
Start a petition.


The person (or organisation) who started this petition is not affiliated with Change.org. Change.org did not create this petition and is not responsible for the petition content.

Unsubscribe   ·   Contact us   ·   Privacy policy

This email was sent by Change.org to wide.aware@gmail.com.

Change.org   ·   548 Market St #29993, San Francisco, CA 94104-5401, USA


So I made a suggestion:

Misuse of subscription lists by Indian government
Misuse of subscription lists by Indian government

This is the end of the road for supporting causes on Change.org for me. I had never figured out why anyone needs a special website to create petitions, but given that a majority of petitions are made to the government, a site that gives the government access to its most loyal readers is clearly not one that can be trusted.

So fuck you, Change.org. Bye!

2

Guest post by Milan Gupta

Yesterday (on 28th December, 2015) Santosh Desai ( @desaisantosh ) published his opinion column titled “2015: The Empire Strikes back” in TOI(Times of India) Delhi edition newspaper. Mr Desai has often expressed optimism in the future of Indian democracy and has been a keen observer of the historical political trends especially of the last 4-5 years. I have often found him amongst the few rare writers who are very forward looking.

When I did read his statements in the column yesterday which were courageously frank like :

“ There is much deeper question here. Is change of a meaningful kind at all possible in India…”,

“Is there something inexorable and deep in the way the polity functions that makes change a virtual impossibility”

“For a brief period, it looked as if the impetus for change would come from a new vision of a more participative form of democracy, but those hopes lie in tatters.”

I do think that a pessimism has grown in the intellectuals class and that predictably hope is being questioned by them again. The world belongs to the new and the young. The ones who have a stake in the future have a responsibility to shun such pessimism how so ever well intentioned it may be from the intellectuals.

I respond to Santosh. He is much older to me and I seek his forgiveness if ever I do sound disrespectful.

The future is bright, Santosh.

Over the last few years, the political discourse has changed so radically that the fear of politicians at least in the metros has almost disappeared. You find Radio jockeys taking such digs at senior political figures which was unthinkable even till 2010. An Anupam Kher in 2010 was issued a privilege motion by Sanjay Nirupam in the Maharashtra assembly for questioning the political class. Such digs at political class are a common place now.

Pilots, least of all Air India’s, never refused entry to late coming VIPs in their planes. But now , we have all heard of how the Kerala governor, a lazy retired Supreme Court judge, was snubbed by the national carrier’s pilot. I couldn’t have called the Kerala governor “a lazy retired Supreme Court judge” in public, a clear disrespect to his post from me, and not be scared of a witch hunt.

Things have changed radically and irreversibly over the last few years. This is the decade of change. The change by the end of the decade will be of gargantuan proportions. Perhaps because we have such a very open social media that its not possible to control any individual now. Yet the credit for the change must go not to the technology but to the Indian people. The Arab Spring has totally misused the social media and the revolution there has turned violent. Pakistan and other countries too have the same tool, but its only in India that the change is happening rapidly and non-violently.

I must take your much deeper question head on where you questioned existence of something inexorable and deep in the way Indian polity functions.

Yes. It exists. It is deep. And very well hidden from common discourse. But its not inexorable at all.

Democracy means not only the right to elect, but it also means right to get elected to the eligible. Dictatorships are controlled by giving the eligible the right to vote but not the right to get elected. Go deep in the direction of how the right to get elected for the legally eligible is curtailed in India, and you would find where that deep problem (and not an insurmountable one) lies.

It is of course not possible for me to briefly show here what that deep rot is which can be easily removed. However, I would briefly point where an answer would lie to one of your question on the Parliament logjam.

If the government is in minority in the Rajya Sabha, why should the leader of the house be from the government at all? Why should the government at all be able to have the final say in the conduct of business of the Rajya Sabha, even what bills and motion to be moved in it? Identify the reason for that contradiction and the log jam in Rajya Sabha can be resolved.

Answers to our questions and the deep rot can be found only if we promise not to give up on hope. We have achieved a lot. The youth are as responsible as any other time. Hope, achievements and debates remain their quintessential characters. The hope must remain unquestionably alive. That’s what has brought us so far.

We’ll have the good life within our life time. The empire is already crumbling.