I thought A.R.Antulay would stick it out. He had nothing to lose. He may have spunk, but he had lost out in the race…Minority Affairs Minister. That’s what they gave him as a sop to keep him happy.
We do not need such a ministry to begin with. We have enough mofussil organisations representing every religion, caste, cult, pimple, silicone implant. This Ministry has done nothing for anyone – the Parsis continue to fight in their panchayat, the Christians in Orissa have not benefitted, and the Muslims have got no reprieve from any of their problems. It is a useless ministry that is answerable to bigger powers.
Antulay raised a question that has to be addressed. Unfortunately, even as he spoke out those words “I said a man like Karkare is born among millions... Who pushed him into the trap of death? Who sent him there to be killed by the Pakistanis?’’ I had a queasy feeling that he would be used.
Suddenly, Muslim leaders came out of the woodwork; maulanas stood up for him. That is what bothered me. To question something ought to be a part of democracy and civil society. Antulay had never been a Muslim leader. So, now for him to be anointed the “Muslim messiah”, even though he had mentioned Pakistan terrorists, was reducing the argument to the lowest common denominator which we as a society are so good at doing.
Why did he speak out?
“Nobody spoke. But I did. I said so because it has been found that a number of things are pushed under the carpet in the name of a state subject. A federal agency is being made... I said it at an opportune moment as a reminder of duty.’’
Many people want to know about Hemant Karkare. Many people are interested that the probe into the Malegaon blasts must not stop. Some wonder about bad timing. Actually, this was the only time to talk because the events may not be connected like Siamese twins, but the Mumbai carnage has pushed the Pragya-Purohit enquiry on the backburner.
Antulay was planning to resign. He said so:
“I am a self-respecting person... forget the resignation. That is a very simple thing. I had resigned from chief ministership of Maharashtra...when 100% of Congress MLAs were with me.’’ Asked about clarifications, he said, “A clarification is sought when something is hidden.”
Today’s news is different. He has become much like Sharad Pawar who had wanted to take on the might of the Congress but finally copped out. Pawar had his reasons.
Antulay would have gone down as at least one who stood up and questioned. He would be known for more than arranging some stuff for Mrs Gandhi and becoming her fall guy in the cement scandal. He would have been A.R.Antulay who had nothing to hide.
Alas, today he sits with a tepid excuse from the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who described the rebellion as “to err is human”. Sure. We can extend this phrase for several other erring activities, Mr. PM.
Antulay told reporters, “There was no need for a further probe. The home minister has clarified all doubts.”
Really? Please tell us. You mentioned earlier that things were pushed under the carpet. Bring it all out on the rug now. You had suggested that Karkare’s killing was facilitated by those who were upset with the arrest of a group of ultra-Hindu radicals in connection with the Malegaon blast of September 29.
Has the home ministry exonerated these people? If not, then what makes you convinced about things?
Next time a politician decides to go public with such sensitive issues we should wait before we listen to her/him.
You must be wondering why the government is not letting him go or getting rid of him. It cannot. Right now, for whatever it is worth, he managed to get some Muslim support and also from other ‘silent liberal’ quarters. Not for himself as an individual but for his views. Throwing him out now would make him into a martyr and give the BJP one more reason to inch forward.
Now, the Congress will play Antulay like a flute. They will choose the tune he sings.
It is a huge tragedy for India that we are too insecure to even afford a rebel or two.