By Aditya Mishra, BA/BSc Social Science, Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year
On 13th December 2023, in tribute to the 2001 Parliament attacks, the lawmakers led a tribute and paid their respect to all those who had died. That’s when a smoke canister was thrown into the Lok Sabha from the visitors’ gallery. Two of those arrested then allegedly jumped from the gallery to the Lok Sabha Chamber. They were apprehended after being surrounded and beaten by Members of Parliament. Following the arrest of the two attackers from inside the building, two more were detained outside parliament, in possession of the same smoke crackers that were thrown inside. After the arrests of all the protesters, the session of the Lok Sabha was adjourned around 2 pm. How did it all happen? It wasn’t a result of long-term planning as the perpetrators were apprehended instantly. Who is the real culprit? The blame can’t be pinned on those arrested alone, as their actions were a reaction to a systemic failure that no one seems to address.
Have you ever heard about Tampering With Evidence? Well, it seems like the Indian Media hasn’t.
TV9 Bharatvarsh senior editor was fighting with CNN News18 senior editor Pallavi Ghosh over the smoke bomb that was thrown in Lok Sabha. Also fighting for it were reporters from Zee News, Aaj Tak and News Nation. Pallavi Ghosh (in pic) presented her defence. Source:- Free Press Journal (above), Twitter:- @_pallavighosh (below)
She was snatching the bomb from a reporter belonging to a different channel; her antics were seen on multiple channels that were also involved in the bomb-snatching fight. She posted on ‘X’ the words, ‘my instinct not to let go’, which would suggest that others were snatching the smoke bomb from her, not what she was caught on camera doing. She also defended herself by saying, ‘It was not the same canister as it was inside the Lok Sabha.’ So why was she fighting for it when she could have gotten a replica of the smoke bomb without raising any security concerns and without (allegedly) tampering with the evidence?
AN UNLIKELY BUNCH
The security agencies haven’t been able to link any of the culprits to any terror groups; this begs the question of who these individuals are. Sagar Sharma (26) from Uttar Pradesh, son of a carpenter; studied till class 12th; dropped out due to financial distress; drives an e-rickshaw in Lucknow. Manoj Devarajegowda (34) from Karnataka, is an engineering graduate who helps his father in Mallapur Village of Hassan District. Neelam Singh Azad (37) from Harayana, an MPhil in Sanskrit who qualified for the National Eligibility Test, Haryana Teacher Eligibility Test, and Central Teacher Eligibility Test; was preparing for the Haryana Civil Services Examination. Amol Dhanraj Shinde (25) from Maharashtra, a class 12 pass-out from the Latur district; was preparing for the Indian Army and police recruitment examination. And Lalit Jha (age unknown), all the agencies know about him is from his Instagram ID where it says that he is a teacher. Do these five have any connections with one another? At the moment the security agencies haven’t released much information out in the public domain. They have all been charged with Sections 153 (want only giving provocation with an intent to cause riot), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 452 (trespass), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servants from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code, and Sections 16 and 18 of UAPA.
However, there is also a sixth culprit that the media didn’t even bother to mention. Bhartiya Janata Party lawmaker, Pratap Simha. Allegedly, he was the one who had provided the security clearances to two of the perpetrators.
Source:- Aaj Tak
Sudhir Chaudhary said on his show that these five culprits had been sent on the orders of Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, who had threatened to attack the Parliament on the 13th of December. He even went a step ahead and accused Rahul Gandhi of not joining the other MPs who were thrashing two of the accused. More recently, in 2017 his hateful reporting about the strict restrictions in Banaras Hindu University’s Mahila Mahavidyalaya led former student Nivedita Shandilya into a depression after Sudhir’s hateful reporting caused Nivedita to receive death threats. He has always supported criminal offenders as long as they are either Hindu or belong to the BJP.
Source:- Republic TV/Republic World on YouTube
Arnab Goswami on the other hand said that these five perpetrators had been trained to participate in protests. As evidence, he claims to have leaked the internet history of one of the perpetrators. Just because Neelam Singh Azad had participated in the farmers’ protest and the women wrestlers’ protest, it doesn’t make her a Khalistani master manipulator; her connection with all of the suspects is unknown as per the current investigation by the security agencies. Arnab Goswami’s stamp of guilt is nothing new, he has even declared innocent victims guilty. When the 2020 Hathras gang rape and murder took place,
When the 2020 Hathras gang rape and murder took place, Arnab discredited the events and said, ‘Ye to kisine manohar kahaniya likhi hai ispar.’ (English: Somebody has clearly written Manohar Kahaniyan on this), insinuating that the event was used as a means, by the locals of Hathras, to incite caste-based riots in Uttar Pradesh. Arnab also blamed Amnesty International for funding the riot.
Aside from what has been suggested in the media, many of the culprits’ parents have insinuated that the security breach came as a result of a long systemic failure. Neelam Singh Azad’s mother Saraswati said Azad was distraught because of her unemployment. She added, ‘We are not a prosperous family but still we educated her. At home, she used to say ‘I studied too much unnecessarily but did not get a job…it would be better if I die.’ Amol Dhanraj Shinde’s mother told media personnel that Amol had been depressed due to his failure to clear the Army recruitment. ‘We don’t know what caused him to do this, but he had been feeling dejected as, despite his efforts, he wasn’t getting in. ‘What’s the use of my education and preparation if I can’t get in! he used to say.’ The problem that can be seen with the profiles of these culprits is the lack of job vacancies and examination paper leaks that render many aspirants jobless. It’s not a problem of the BJP-ruled governments alone, it was a problem even during the years when Congress was in power. The lack of job vacancies and paper leaks have always been a problem that the government over the years have failed to fix.
KANGAROO COURT RETURNS
Following the attacks, opposition members expressed their concerns over the security lapse and demanded a statement from Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They also demanded that Pratap Simha be suspended, like Mahua Moitra, for his alleged role in the ambush. With what happened to Mahua Moitra, surely ‘justice’ would also be established in Pratap Simha’s case and he would be suspended. Unfortunately, those asking for Simha’s suspension weren’t from the BJP, and Simha was in the BJP. So 141 members* (95 from Lok Sabha and 46 from Rajya Sabha) were suspended for ‘unruly behaviour in the Parliament’. As per Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha speaker Jagdeep Dhankhar, the opposition lawmakers were suspended for “Unruly Behaviour”. To conclude and to sum up the BJP’s sense of justice, here’s what Congress Member of Parliament, Manish Tewari had to say:
Source:- Twitter @ManishTewari
*141 opposition members have been suspended as of 19th December 2023. None of the suspended lawmakers were from the BJP.