CAN `SILENCE’ BE USEFUL IN A DEMOCRACY? By Aravind Govekar

By Aravind Govekar

IT Was Satya Pal Malik, the former governor of Jammu & Kashmir, Goa and Meghalaya, who had revealed in an interview to Karan Thapar how Narendra Modi and Amit Shah used the martyrdom of 40 CRPF jawans in the terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy at Pulwama in J&K for the Lok Sabha Elections in 2019. Satya Pal Malik was advised by Modi to keep quiet and not to speak to the press or TV channels about the terrorist attack.
By the time Modi had talked to him from a road side dhaba in the jungles of Uttarakhand, Satya Pal Malik had already talked to TV channels and frankly expressed his shock and regret at the incident. The country subsequently learnt about the details of Pulwama from Satya Pal Malik after he revealed the details in the now famous interview with Karan Thapar.
Satya Pal Malik asked three important questions :
The CRPF had reportedly requested the Defense Ministry to make available five aircrafts for their use to take the jawans to their destination. The request was kept pending with the ministry for more than four months. This eventually forced the CRPF convoy to travel by road, giving an opportunity to the terrorists to attack the convoy. What was the reason for keeping the request of CRPF pending for such a long time?
Satya Pal Malik explained that there are eight or nine side roads which meet the Srinagar Jammu highway at different points. As a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), security men guard all the junctions to prevent all vehicles from entering the highway before and during the movement of armed forces. This time, during the movement of the CRPF convoy, these junctions were not guarded by security men. Why?
Another shocking information which Satya Pal Malik gave during the interview was that the explosive-laden vehicle which crashed into the CRPF convoy was freely moving in that areas for 10 days prior to the attack. It was never intercepted by any army or police patrols. The vehicle had an estimated 300 kilos of powerful explosives. How come this vehicle escaped the attention of the local law enforcement agencies?
According to Satya Pal Malik these questions still remain unanswered. An enquiry should have been ordered by into the lapses in the Defense Ministry and negligence of law enforcement authorities in Jammu & Kashmir. Instead, the government has maintained an inexplicable silence, a silence probably meant to hide its inefficiency and its despicable attempts to make political capital out of a mational tragedy.
Modi has been using his “silence” as a political strategy to confuse his opponents. That he has not held a single press conference in the last nine-and-a-half years may also be due to his diffidence and ignorance about key problems facing the country.
His defiant silence on Manipur has dented his image and may be an important factor in his defeat in next year’s Lok Sabha elections. His unwillingness to take any action against Narendra Singh Tomar, even temporarily, and his silence on the issue may further reduce his chances not only in Madhya Pradesh state elections but also in the Lok Sabha elections in 2024.
His “silence” strategy however does not stop him from making atrocious claims by way of “Modi Guarantees” of fighting against corruption and family raj. The INDIA Alliance has not done enough to expose these and other claims of Modi. It is hoped that the hypocrisy and hollowness of Modi’s speeches will be thoroughly exposed by the INDIA Alliance before it is too late.

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