Divide and rule? The Brits could learn from us

H.R. BAPU SATYANARAYANA writes: The present unrest spreading across the country over the issue of 27 per cent reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBCs), mooted by the Human Resource Development Minster Arjun Singh, has snow-balled into a full-scale confrontation and virtually created a vertical divide in the country.

The way the interns and other doctors were lathi-charged in Bombay yesterday is reminiscent of the British using our own police and military to subdue popular unrest in the independence struggle. But what we saw yesterday was our own government asking our own police to come down on our own citizens of the future who were exercising their democratic right to protest.

In fact, our politicians are one up over our colonial masters in implementing the divide-and-rule policy as a political weapon in every sphere. Unfortunately, our Prime Minister has been left to hold the baby for the indiscretion of his colleague and is in a Catch-22 situation.

The reaction will be on expected lines. The positions of the government and the police will harden to see how far the medicos will be able to sustain the momentum. They will either invoke ESMA or, more predictably, they will try to recruit unemployed doctors to fill the posts.

Matters have come to such a pass because the Prime Minister has been unable to assert his authority. What next?