At best, it was an entertaining, yet thought-provoking, duel between Rajdeep and the chief minister. It boiled down to nothing, a damp squib.
The ‘open letter’ fight between TV news anchor, Rajdeep Sardesai, and Maharashtra chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, was amusing while it lasted. Sadly, it was a reflection of the growing fury over various controversial issues in the State of Maharashtra, where curbing free speech, and banning, has become all too common.
Fadnavis’ latest diktat had invoked outrage over the Government’s passing of a ‘circular’ on the application of Sec. 124-A of the Indian Penal Code – the offence of sedition! Rajdeep called it draconian and he is damn right.
Throttling free speech, taming dissent, imposing bans… these have become the salient features of the Fadnavis regime. In fact, why blame just the Fandavis Government? This particular circular is just one of the many measures that most Governments take in order to control dissent and criticism.
Rajdeep needled Fadnavis in his letters and held him accountable for attempting to take away people’s freedom of speech and expression. There is a limit to everything, but who sets those limits? Not you and I. Governments do, and they do it keeping their strengths and weaknesses in mind.
Government’s clarification that only extremely inflammable speech or expression would bring criminal liability has hardly allayed any fears. Their seemingly pro-active attempt to twist the criminal law in order to insulate corrupt ministers and public servants, could hurt the BJP party’s image at State, as well as national level.
Rajdeep was right in slamming the Government on the issue of meat ban as well.
By banning meat, the only channel of trade for the farmers was stopped. It was double blow for an already suffering farmer coming to terms with the drought.
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis slammed the media for blowing the issue out of proportion, and clarified that it was the 2004 Congress government that initiated this. It’s really strange that a chief minister would think on such lines. Even if the previous regime did not do the right thing, should the other parties also follow suit?
Maharashtra is taking body blows because of its various radical decisions – The two-day meat ban, the Sheena Bora murder case, the implementation of sedition, and the farmer suicides. Typically, CM Fadnavis termed Sardesai’s take as being the “classic product of a biased mind”, and a “leftist agenda”. It’s not prudent for a politician, and a CM at that, to make derogatory comment on the media.
Despite coming from Jain community, I don’t support this move. When I was taught Jainism, I was told not to eat meat, but no one asked me to stop others from eating meat and beef. We all are living in a democratic country, where people are allowed to perform their rituals without hurting anyone.
Maharashtra is butchering democracy with its meat bans and laws on sedition. Is this their appeasement politics, aiming to satisfy the Jain community? We just cannot ignore families which depend completely on this business. Good governance must not be confused with food governance. The Bombay High Court put the matter to rest saying that such decisions were not good for a modern city like Mumbai. The BJP government was not voted to implement the so-called cultural ideas into our kitchen.