18/05/2013

This cost the government dear


The Union Government did create a “national hero” and “brave son of the soil” of Sarabjit Singh but now it has been facing consequences. The question being raised is: on which basis was he conferred this honour?: funeral with state honour, participation of great state and political personalities therein, financial aid to his kin, high-sounding condolence messages, why all this? While his kin say that when he was in the Pakistani jail, no sincere effort at any level was made to free him. And, had he been hanged there, there would not have been this much fuss. But, why this burst of sentiments of love and compassion when he was attacked by his jail inmates and succumbed to it? About all political parties and other social and media circles had come together to make a hero of him but the butt of criticism is the government in particular; for the government is constitutional and legal; its money is public money; it is accountable to the government. But above all, it is responsible for all the consequences and repercussions of its actions.

These are the consequences and repercussions
And it is these consequences and repercussions that are chasing the government. Some realities that had been unknown to the public are also coming to the fore. One of them is that the various security and intelligence agencies of the country recruit spies on their own, pay them monthly remuneration, convince them to do this work in the name of patriotism and service to the nation, and promises to look after their family members in case they are caught or get confronted with some incident abroad. In this regard a report was published in the English daily The Hindu on 5 May, according to which, after the Sarabjit incident, all those who had been sent abroad for espionage are raising voices for remuneration and rehabilitation. They were caught there and when returned home after undergoing long jail sentences they found their respective houses ruined and none to look after their family members. Some of them knocked the doors of courts of law but they were not accepted as spies there; even respondent government officials would refuse to acknowledge them.

On the wings of sentimental politics
According to the report, a Chandigarh based advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal has filed cases on behalf of forty such persons in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and fighting their cases for free. The biggest hurdle he has been facing is how to establish the status of the applicants. The court and the government do not accept them as spies. But after the Sarabjit incident they have got fresh breath and Advocate Lakhanpal is also in fresh mood. Although the government did not accept even Sarabjit as its spy, nor did any intelligence agency declare him as its “own man” – it was as if his status was yet to be established, yet there is a ray of hope for the former spies of Punjab and Jammu. In response to the question as to why the government made Sarabjit a hero, only one thing can be said: the politics of sentimental patriotism. Had it not done so, Saffron parties would have created a fresh headache for the government and the Congress. However, with the Sarabjit episode, one fact once again stands proved that besides having the desire to emerge as a wold power the ruling class here cannot go ahead without hollow patriotism and sensational issues.
13/05/2013 khabar-O-Nazar by Parwaaz Rahmani, sehrozaDAWAT, translated by: Abu Yusuf

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