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Time For Action
<b>Time for Action </b>

Tuesday, 18 January 2005

S.S. Mani

While the arrest of the Kanchi Sankaracharya without basis in evidence was abominable, the actions of the Tamil Nadu government since his release on bail by the Supreme Court require a rapid reaction.

The illegal detention of Sri Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal, Sankaracharya of Kanchi, on the evening of his predecessor’s release, is incompatible with the Constitution of India. It is the duty of every Indian to rise against such atrocious misuse of power. If they intend to remain true to their oath to protect our Constitution, the President and Prime Minister of India must, perforce, take summary action to halt the despicable and dictatorial course that Chief Minister Jayalalitha is taking.

On the evening of January 10, the Chief Minister sent a few truckloads of police with guns loaded, to a sanctified place of worship, the Sankara Matam. With their shoes on, and uttering harsh words towards unarmed devotees peaceably gathered there, the Chief Minister’s commando force committed a sacrilege of a venerable Indian tradition. Barring the entry of attorneys, and without informing them of the charges against Him, the Chief Minister had her police junta drag the Sankaracharya off the premises to Chennai Central Jail.

When the police finally articulated the charges before the magistrate, we discovered that the Sankaracharya was being arrested, as was his senior, Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal, on murder and conspiracy charges. On the present occasion, neither the Chief Minister nor her police chief deigned to describe the basis of these charges. However, it is worth noting that the Supreme Court of India stipulated in its order granting bail to Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal, (whom the Chief Minister declared the prime conspirator in the same case) that Madam Jayalalitha and her police had not produced any evidence linking the Sankaracharya to the crime. Yet, Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal has been arrested for the very same crime.

In effect, the Supreme Court ruling indicated that there was no basis in law for effecting the first arrest. Despite this repudiation of her exercise of police powers, Chief Minister Jayalalitha did not hesitate to ponder the legal grounds of ordering a second arrest. Suo moto, without even an articulation of the evidentiary basis for such action, she rushed in where angels would fear to tread. Such dictatorial exhibitionism deserves immediate dismissal of Jayalalitha’s government.

Next, the Chief Minister froze 183 accounts of the Kanchi Mutt, and its various Trusts, paralyzing the delivery of countless medical, educational & social benefits to millions of our citizens throughout the country. Again, she did not even bother to give any rhyme or reason for her actions. Such arbitrary sequestration of property deserves condemnation from any political entity that cares for India’s economic well-being. One would like to ask the Prime Minister & the Finance Minister whether any organization or individual would ever like to invest in a country where politicians can seize personal property without any due process of law. In many countries, such action would be punishable with punitive fines and imprisonment.

The Jayalalitha Government has the audacity to question even the Supreme Court’s verdict on the bail application. The Supreme Court is the final authority in all legal matters. But, without regard to this constitutional authority, the Chief Minister voices opprobrium against their judgment. To her no Court of Law can give a decision or opinion not in conformity with hers! What is objectionable is the tone finding fault with the legal analysis of the submitted evidence by the apex court. This amounts to contempt of court. It goes to the very root of our democracy, that the executive, that too at the State level, cannot trump the judiciary. The Centre has got to take action to preserve the constitutional integrity of the Supreme Court. The Jayalalitha Government, which has violated the oath of office, should be sacked.

The untold harassment and sufferings meted out to the officials of the Mutt by Jayalalitha’s Police before their arrests (Raghu, Sundaresa Iyer & Vishwanatha Iyer) are condemnable by one & all. Horrific tales of psychological torture, repeated harassing interrogations, and threats of harm have abounded Kanchipuram without the slightest notice from the Centre. Mr Subramaniam Swamy humorously mentioned in one of his interviews that if anyone was to show up at Kanchipuram Bus stand seeking directions, that person would be hauled off to the Forest Bungalow for questioning. Is this a Police State undertaking ethnic cleansing against Hindu devotees of the Kanchi Mutt? How long will Jayalalitha be allowed to commit such atrocities in the name of upholding law? Only Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Kalam can answer that question.

Against all propriety and decency, the video taken during the police custody of Sankaracharya was released to TV Channels. Oddly enough, in this videotape, Swamiji has categorically stated that he never told anyone to kill or even hurt anybody. Unmindful of this rather essential fact, Jayalalitha’s Government, via its counsel, told Justice Balasubramaniam that they have a confession, albeit inadmissible as evidence. The Acharya’s clear denial is a confession? What a blatant lie! The Human Rights Commission has sent Jayalalitha’s government a notice seeking explanation for the release of the tape, but will she care for the Commission when she does not even bother to heed the Supreme Court?

Madam Jayalalitha has a history of misusing her political power for personal vendetta. She used excessive brute force of the police in arresting DMK Leader Karunanidhi just for personal vendetta. She leveled indecent charges against Dr Chenna Reddy, a leader of Congress party and then Governor of Tamilnadu. A senior IAS Officer of the Government of Tamilnadu, who did not see eye to eye with her was brutally attacked with acid and there was no concluding investigation. She harassed a former judge of the High Court of Tamilnadu, who was elevated to the Supreme Court, through frivolous and unfounded charges against his close relatives. Political murders regularly take place during her Chief Ministership, and remain uninvestigated. Will the political parties & the Central Government, particularly Dr.Manmohan Singh (& Sonia Gandhi) take strong action to dismiss her or remain imbecile spectators and derelict in their duties? It must be kept in mind that Jayalalitha did not spare even Sonia Gandhi in her vicious pre-election speeches.

Summary dismissal of Jayalalitha’s government has become necessary because she does not understand the language of reason. She claims, in her recent letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, that there has been no protest against the Sankaracharya’s arrest. Over half a million Citizens from India & abroad have signed petitions to the President of India, the Prime Minister of India & the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court asking their intervention. A variety of political parties, from the Sangh Parivar to the Muslim Ulema Council have condemned the arrest in the harshest terms. But these are of no consequence to her. The only thing she respects is the goonda-ism that she herself has been known to engage in. For example, inciting her followers to burn a few buses filled with innocent travelers, as happened to three college girls after her arrest by then Chief Minister Karunanidhi. To her, only such anti-social, illegal and despicable acts are real protests. I wish her mentor, Dr MG Ramachandran was alive to-day. He would have banished her outright for such atrocities.

Some political leaders have cited vote bank politics for her current actions. However, the reason may be far more insidious. Rumours are floating that behind Sankara Raman’s murder there was the hand of Jayalalitha and that is why she hastened to buy Sankar Raman’s family through a donation of 5 lakhs. Also that is the reason why she opposes any enquiry by outside agency - the CBI. It is here that all political parties must unite and demand an independent enquiry by CBI, so that the real culprit(s) in the murder are punished. Pending the conclusion of the enquiry, Jayalalitha should resign or be removed by the Centre so that she is unable to perpetrate illegal activities professing to be an upholder of law.

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Time For Action - by Guest - 01-19-2005, 10:45 AM
Time For Action - by acharya - 01-20-2005, 09:28 PM

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