TMC MP Mahua Moitra on Thursday hit out at the government claiming it wants to alter history, is "fearful of the future" and "mistrusts the present", adding that while the president, in his address, spoke about freedom fighters, it was just "lip service". Participating in the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address, she referred to the government's recent announcement of installing a statue of Subhash Chandra Bose beneath the canopy at India Gate and asked if the iconic leader would have approved of the Dharma Sansad in which hate speeches were made.
Moitra, who is known for her fiery speeches in Parliament, continued in her usual manner, with the Chair even asking her to calm down and speak with "less anger". "This government wants to alter history. They're fearful of the future and they mistrust the present. The president, early on in his address, speaks about freedom fighters who secured India's rights but this is just lip service," she claimed.
Stating that the government was "fearful" of a nation that is "comfortable in its own skin," Moitra said that it was time for the people to save the country. "They are fearful of the future and and they mistrust the present," she said while speaking in the Lok Sabha.
"You fear a future India which is comfortable in its own skin, which is comfortable with conflicting realities...," she said. She highlighted several human index reports which put India at a lower position and said that the government feared a future where it might not be able to arm-twist government officials to conduct raids on opposition leaders.
"That is why you need to extend the tenures of CBI and ED chiefs depending on how they do your bidding. You fear a future where bureaucrats in a state cannot be bullied by the Centre, so you amend the IAS cadre rules. This fear of irrelevance in the future makes you behave the way you do. "You are not content with just our vote, you want to get inside our heads, inside our homes, to tell us what to eat, what to wear, who to love. But your fear alone cannot keep the future at bay," she said
Moitra asked what kind of India the people of the country wanted. "What is the kind of Republic we want? What is the idea of India that we are willing to stand up for, fight for... get jailed for. Ours is a living Constitution. It breathes as long as we are willing to breathe life into it. Otherwise it's a piece of paper, black and white which can be smudged into any shade of grey by any majoritarian government," she said.
She said it is not enough for Indians to stand and watch, referring to former US President John F Kennedy, who she said had warned of such "hateful forces". The TMC leader said that while the government talks of freedom fighters, in reality, recalling India's past, which is one of plurality and secularism makes this government insecure. Critical of the rejection of the Republic Day tableaux, of West Bengal on Netaji, from Tamil Nadu and other states, Moitra alleged that the government has "reinvented" Savarkar as a freedom fighter and recast the apology letter from him as a "political masterstroke."
She accused the government of appropriating the legacy of Bhagat Singh, who was staunchly anti-fascist, of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel who banned the RSS. "The president's address refers to Netaji on multiple occasions. I'd like to remind the House that the same Netaji said Government of India should have an absolutely impartial and neutral attitude towards all religions. Would Netaji have approved of a Haridwar Dharma Sansad that issued blood-curdling calls for Muslim genocide," she asked.
Moitra said that Netaji's INA's insignia was Tipu Sultan's springing tiger, whose name, she claimed, was erased from textbooks. "The INA's motto was 'Ittehad, Itmad aur Qurbani', 'unity, trust and sacrifice', the same Urdu this government is delighted to replace with Hindi as the first and official language of Jammu and Kashmir. The president's address refers to Khadi as the symbol of consiousness under Bapu's leadership but the unholy Dharam Sansad issues calls to kill Bapu all over again. You have already been successful in glorifying Gandhiji's assassins...
"The masters of our Republic fear their own irrelevance if in the future India and Indians are guaranteed the rights enshirined in our Constitution," she said. She accused the government of "mistrusting the soul of India" by linking Aadhaar cards to the right to vote which created a possibility of disenfranchising genuine voters. "You mistrust our annadatas who repeatedly told you to not bring farm laws. Even when you rolled them back, I think, it was more your fear of losing 70 seats in western UP rather than any remorse you felt over the 700 farmers who passed away," she said.
The TMC leader accused the government of mistrusting Jats, Sikhs or anyone who questions them. On the Pegasus issue, she said everyone who exposed the truth was lying and only "this government is in splendid isolation in telling the truth on Pegasus". She lashed out at the government on the treatment of Muslims and said they were being denied houses on rent, spaces to pray. Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) member E T Mohammad Basheer said the president's address was contrary to facts and claimed that the government had failed to learn from the past as the Niti Aayog's National Multidimensional Poverty Index based on the National Family Health Survey brings out the reality about deprivation in different sectors.
With PTI Inputs