What lessons can we learn from the Parliament security breach?

What lessons can we learn from the Parliament security breach?

The real threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India is from those who cannot prevent China from occupying our territory or those who spare no effort in provoking enmity between different castes and communities

Abhay MokashiUpdated: Sunday, December 24, 2023, 05:52 PM IST
article-image
Parliament Security Breach | File Photo

There are several lessons to be learnt from the happenings in the Parliament over the last few days. The entry into the Lok Sabha of the two youths armed with coloured gas canisters exposes the flaws in the “state-the-art” security at the newly inaugurated Central Vista.

If the two young men were able to breach the security and go so close to the high and mighty in Indian politics, they could have caused great damage if they wanted to, but it was clear from their action that they merely wanted to draw the nation’s and especially the government’s attention to the problems facing the country, such as unemployment.

They have done great service to the nation by exposing the flawed security system. The marshals of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha are not armed, and one can imagine what could have happened if the two were terrorists in the real sense; the Delhi police were quick to apply provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which is meant to tackle activities that threaten the sovereignty and integrity of India. By no stretch of imagination can it be said that the two were a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India, which is not so fragile that two unarmed men can damage or destroy it; nor are they Mahatma Gandhi, who could shake an empire with his non-violence. The real threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India is from those who cannot prevent China from occupying our territory or those who spare no effort in provoking enmity between different castes and communities.

The other lesson to learn is that we are nowhere near being a democratic country, even if we cry ourselves hoarse claiming that India is the mother of democracy. India has been a democratic country and that too a mature democracy, till the time that democratic institutions started to be trampled and misused. The maturity of Indian democracy has been seen in the several changes in the governments in the states and at the centre, through the ballot box in the past; it is only now that a section of the electorate is blinded by communal provocation and false patriotism.

Today, elected governments are replaced not through the ballot box, but using undemocratic means.

The breach of security also brings forth the fact that not all tall people can stand tall. To stand tall, people need to live up to the trust that is reposed in them, that comes with the duties and responsibilities of their posts.

Lal Bahadur Shastri, P A Sangma and S A Dange were among the many short men who stood tall with their acts and services to society at large.

The presiding officers of Parliamentary bodies carry the responsibility of ensuring that the proceedings of the House they command are carried out in the best democratic traditions and that the sanctity of the democratic bodies they head, by virtue of their posts, is maintained.

By booking the two intruders under UAPA, the government has accepted that the two are terrorists, so it was the duty of the government, in this case represented by the Home Minister and the Prime Minister, to make a statements in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha on the breach of security and to take the Members of Parliament — and through them the nation — into confidence. Of course, this is too much to expect from a government which has failed to even come out with the truth about the intrusion into our territory by a foreign nation. As compared to that, the intrusion into the Lok Sabha is a small affair.

It was for the presiding officers to give directions to the government to make a statement on the breach of security. In the past there have been presiding officers who have risen above party lines and given directions to the government, because they knew the value of the chair they occupied.

It is most unfortunate that the presiding officers of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, Jagdeep Dhankar and Om Birla, respectively, have been behaving more like members of the Bharatiya Janata Party, from where they came, rather than being neutral.

When greatness is thrust upon someone, the person stoops in front of the benefactor. The nation has seen Dhankar, who is also the Vice-President of the country, bowing before Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who bestowed the august position on Dhankar. But Dhankar has stooped even more with his behaviour in the Rajya Sabha. The suspension of the members of the Opposition was undemocratic and his action was not befitting of the expectations from the Chair. As if that was not enough, Dhankar stooped further to bring up his caste, while reacting to the mimicry by a parliamentarian, imitating him. Dhankar would have stood tall, if he had ignored the mimicry, since his name was not mentioned during the act. Instead of being magnanimous by accepting the humour and taking it in his stride, he said in the Rajya Sabha that it was an attack on his caste.

This is the strait of the BJP — to bring in caste in every possible situation, with an eye on the elections. Every criticism of a person holding an office is termed as an attack on the caste of the person. As the Vice-President, Dhankar should be above caste, language, religion, state and his party. He holds a Constitutional post of the nation. He should not be influenced by the puppetry popular in Rajasthan, from where he hails.

Birla and Dhankar should spend some time in the Parliament library and read about the presiding officers of the past and their directions to the government. They should also try to follow what Mahatma Gandhi said, “Practice, before you preach.”

The author is a senior journalist and media trainer. He tweets at @a_mokashi

RECENT STORIES

Editorial: Ameen Sayani, Radio’s Melody Maestro

Editorial: Ameen Sayani, Radio’s Melody Maestro

Legal Eagle: SC Verdict May Expose Corporates’ Quid Pro Quos

Legal Eagle: SC Verdict May Expose Corporates’ Quid Pro Quos

HerStory: Beware The Furies When They Ascend

HerStory: Beware The Furies When They Ascend

Editorial: End Of The Tunnel For Congress?

Editorial: End Of The Tunnel For Congress?

South By Southeast: Dirty Air – What Can S Asia Learn From SE Asia?

South By Southeast: Dirty Air – What Can S Asia Learn From SE Asia?