The latest Punjab Police fiasco around Tajinder Bagga’s arrest has opened a can of worms. This has put back the spotlight on the opposition’s confrontational politics. Many of the opposition-ruled states are undermining the authority of the Union government. These moves reflect signs of vengeance politics and ideological misuse of state machinery.
Politics around the arrest of Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga
The misuse of the Police Force is not a new thing in politics. In the past, every party has been accused of it. But the blatant misuse of the Police Force has not been more visible than in the last few months. The Punjab Police arrested Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga in the morning hours from his house. It is alleged that the Punjab Police officials had beaten his elderly father and didn’t even allow Bagga to wear a turban.
The Punjab Police had arrested him on the charges of making provocative statements, promoting enmity, and criminal intimidation but what seems to be evident is that he had been politically opposing the Delhi government. He spoke against Delhi CM’s outrageous remarks on The Kashmir Files. Since then, he has been on Punjab Police’s radar. Hence, this arrest seemed to be clear on the line of political vendetta. The Punjab Police flaunted all the rules and procedures for interstate arrest and didn’t inform the Delhi Police about arresting Bagga.
This is not a single instance of such politically motivated cases instead, there is a long list of such misadventures. Ever since the Punjab government took an oath, it has gone on a spree against the detractors of the Aam Aadmi Party. The Punjabi channel PTC ran a news report which exposed the scam of Rs 6 lakh in building a bridge. Soon after this scam was revealed by the channel, the Punjab authorities arrested the channel’s MD Rabindra Narayan. The Punjab Police had also booked BJP leader Naveen Jindal, Prithi Gandhi, and two former AAP members, Alka Lamba and Kumar Vishwas.
Hence, the Punjab Police seems to have undergone a drive to fulfil the whims and fancies of AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal. It has been his utmost desire to have control over the Police force. Once in an interview, he said, all the detractors will be corrected once he gets power over the Police.
Horrible Jingoistic Scenes in Kolkata
In February 2019, Kolkata witnessed one of the darkest chapters in Indian politics. Eight Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers were nabbed by the Kolkata Police. The CBI team was hounded and rounded up when they were carrying out their duty. The purpose of their visit was to question the Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with the Sharda and Rose Valley chit fund scam.
The Kolkata Police deployed a heavy police force and seized two central government buildings. These included the building that housed CBI offices, the residence of the Joint Director as well as the Enforcement directorate. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel encircled the central buildings to secure their safety. This provocative act of the Kolkata government and Police was nothing short of warmongering against the Union government.
Opposition-led states challenging the Union government: Revoking the general consent
In the name of safeguarding the federal structure, the opposition-led states are subverting the Union’s authority. Around nine states have taken away the general consent from CBI. The CBI had apprised the Supreme Court that nearly 150 requests to sanction investigation were pending since 2018 before the states. Seven out of these nine states who withdrew general consent are opposition-led states.
Shameful Politics on Matter of national security
The opposition has not even left matters of national security. They had politicised many matters relating to national security be it Article 370, the Surgical strike, or the fake propaganda on the Rafale deal. The latest being the resolutions passed by Punjab and Bengal Assemblies against BSF jurisdiction. The Central government had earlier expanded the BSF’s jurisdiction within the area of 50 Kms from the Pakistan and Bangladesh border to tackle the increasing menace of terrorism and illegal infiltration.
Other Examples of Confrontational Politics
In June 2020, India lost a supremely talented actor, that is, Sushant Singh Rajput. The unfortunate case ensued many mysteries around it but instead of tackling it professionally, the Maharashtra Police and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government handled the case in the most despicable manner possible. The acts of the Police fuelled rumours and strengthened many conspiracy theories.
The late actor’s father KK Singh didn’t trust the Maharashtra police and had lodged a complaint to Bihar Police to investigate the case. However, the Maharashtra Police instead of assisting the Bihar Police put them into quarantine. Finally, the Supreme Court had to step in and transfer the case to CBI for an impartial trial. Furthermore, the top cop Mumbai CP Param Bir Singh who did regular briefing and supervision in Sushant Singh’s case is himself caught in serious cases and is facing the music of law.
Constitutionally appointed Governors have been given the power to appoint Vice-Chancellors (V-Cs) in state universities. It is done to ensure political parties don’t rig educational institutions for their political motives. But many opposition states are trying to snatch this power. The Tamil Nadu assembly passed two Bills to curtail the Governor’s power of appointing V-Cs. Earlier, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan had objected to CPI(M)-led government’s interference in the appointments of VCs.
The confrontational politics of opposition will be very dangerous for the country in the long run. Hence, the Union government should use its powers enshrined in the constitution to counter this dangerous trend. It should direct the states to mend their ways through guidelines and directives under Article 355 and Article 365. Moreover, the opposition states should align their political interests with the larger interest of the nation.