Withdraw the controversial circular of gaging criticism and opposition
One may or may not agree with the politics of Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (united ) President Mr. Nitish Kumar but he has never been blamed to be arrogant un democrat and intolerant to criticism. He has always been a cool and sensitive politician who has taken criticism in its stride. But after recently hed assembly elections in which his party performed very poorly and Nitish got the Chief Minister’s chair as a “DAAN” from BJP and is facing the uncertain future as BJP at any moment may draw the rug from under his feet he has become “Chidchida”.He first lost his cool in assembly when leader of opposition Tejashwi Yadav blamed him to be involved in a murder case he spoke in a language and tone that could well be described only as “Sadak Chhap”.Then he showed his anger to a TV journalist who perhaps has asked some uncomfortable question he not only showed his anger to the journalist but even snubbed him. His frustration could be understood but his attitude and behavior is difficult to understand. Had Mr. Nitish Kumar learned this lesson of intolerance to criticism from his BJP counterparts because be it a common man political opponents or media people usually any one of them criticising the BJP government or its leadership is not only termed as anti national, anti Hindu Pakistan’s agent, Naxals, Khalistani etc etc.
Now he has gone beyond his personal anger and frustration and is using police to silent his critics even on social media.The state is all set to witness action under cyber crime law against individuals and organisations for offensive comments against the government its officials Ministers MPs and MLAs. State’s Inspector General of Police Economic Offences wing which also handles cyber crimes in a letter to all principal secretaries and secretaries said “It has regularly been coming to light that certain individuals and organisations have been making offensive comments through social media against government Ministers MPs MLAs and government officials which is against prescribed law. For this act it seems appropriate to take actions against such individuals and organisations. He further said “you all are requested to inform the economic offences wing about any such act so that suitable action may be taken against them”.
Leader of opposition and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav dared the Chief Minisier to send him to jail under the new cyber law. He said “we will continue to expose the wrong doing, corruption and scams of this government. ”According to Mr. Tejashwi Yadav as many as sixty scams happened during Nitish Kumar’s period. This government has become intolerant towards criticism by the media and other people including opposition leaders. It is is an arbitrary move and a sign of nervousness and we will oppose such a move.
State Congress leader Prem Chandra Mishra said the order reflects how much the NDA government is scared of criticism. It is like a Tughlaqi Farman (Dictatorial order) to suppress the questions raised by people against this government. CPI(M) leader Awadhesh Kumar said Nitish government is using the cyber crime laws to hide corruption and gag the voice of those who raise questions on it.
On the other hand NDA leaders have welcomed the move saying it is necessary to legally curb those who use offensive and defamatory languages against the government public representative and officials. It will in no way gag the freedom of expression.
Bihar Police circular is one more example that how even the democratically elected governments who swear to rule according to the constitution use state power to suppress the voice of dissent and gag freedom of expression the fundamental of democratic system. Earlier the Kerala government has also brought such legislation but withdrew under heavy public and media pressure. Every government usually tries to suppress the voice of opposition and gag freedom of expression but the present regime has crossed all the limits and has targeted every individual including journalists to gag their voice. Electoral mandate don’t insulate the governments from accountability, criticism and opposition . We are seeing that at the name of hurting the sentiments freedom of expression is being curtailed in every possible way. Governments are using a a slew of IPC provisions to harass even arrest journalists, film producers even comic writers and presenters. This is not healthy sigh for democracy.
This step by Nitish government will open the flood gate for harassment arrest fabricated cases against those who will raise any voice against his government. Mr. Nitish Kumar by his acts of political infidelity has already damaged his image and now this ill suggested step will further damage his reputation as a sincere serious democrat politician.
However after much hew and cry and all round condemnation the Bihar Police has issued clarification that constructive criticism is welcome and only those posts which spread rumours and use offensive and defamatory languages would be targeted. But is is clearly a lame excuse this order must be withdrawn forthwith as Kerala government has done .