The UPA’s Hazare cock-up in 179 simple words

India’s self-proclaimed “national newspaper” The Hindu has long invited barbs of twits and critics who conflate the masthead with the religion and abhor its secular stance. It has been seen to be pro-establishment, afraid to ruffle feathers of the government of the day, unwilling to say it like it is. And, after the 2G scam, members of the Hindu undivided family have themselves levelled charges of duplicity if not complicity.

The first 179 words of an editorial in today’s paper, titled “Corrupt, repressive and stupid“, should slay many of those demons:

“A corrupt government devoid of moral authority is ill equipped to deal rationally with legitimate public anger. By ordering the illegitimate detention of Anna Hazare before he began his fast in support of stronger anti-corruption provisions in the Lokpal Bill and the arrest of a large number of peaceful protesters in the national capital, the United Progressive Alliance government revealed its ugly, repressive face.

“No representative government in a democracy can deny citizens their fundamental right to dissent and peaceful protest. Insisting on unreasonable, inequitable, and suspiciously contrived conditions that everyone knows the protesters cannot accept is tantamount to denial of the democratic right. Instead of honestly dealing with the issues raised by successive corruption scandals, the UPA government chose to cover up.

“When that became unsustainable, it resorted to slurs and dirty tricks, and incrementally raised the level of repression to smother voices demanding accountability and corrective institutional measures. It is no wonder that from time to time such a government gets into panic mode, miscalculates, and commits acts that everyone outside the regime recognises as politically stupid.”

Read the full editorial: Corrupt, repressive, and stupid

Cartoon: courtesy Surendra/ The Hindu