Eminent personalities including Rabindranath Tagore had dreamt of a nation where the people are free from fears, knowledge is free to all individuals and all religions coexistin peace.
However certain incidents during these times of rights to information and democratic clarity couldn’t be left unnoticed. For instance the nationwide ban of currency notes, a move that was described as the biggest economic reform witnessed by the country. When the Centre put the blame on Reserve Bank, the RBI revealed before the Parliament Council that the the ‘surgical strike’without the knowledge of economists, law makers or people’s representatives, was the government’s decision.
The contradictory claims by the government and the RBI continues with both putting blames on each other for the note-ban decision. Even though the questions were asked according to the Rights to Information Act, the RBI had evaded all the queries. The Bloomberg News had posed several questions before the central bank about the demonetisation drive including details about the number of notes available in the banks at the time the note-ban was announced by the Prime Minister. However, it had refused to share the specific details on the government’s decision claiming ‘exemptions’ to some of the queries and evading others saying it had ‘no information’, citing threat to life and physical safety of anyone who disclosed the information to the public. Whom does the Central banking institution fear in order to function smoothly and transparently as per the law? Strangely, the questions wasn’t raised even by the government.
This mysterious fear was seen in another incident recently as well. MP and former Minister E Ahmed collapsed in the Parliament following a cardiac arrest and was rushed to Ram ManoharLohia Hospital in New Delhi. The subsequent happenings in the hospital sparked a huge controversy. Not only was his children denied permission to meet him, the hospital administration refused to disclose and consult the family about the details of the treatment. The chest compression device (ECMO) was applied on Ahmed for almost 10 hours violating all medical ethics resulting in bloating of the former MP’s face much to the shock of the family members.
Why did the doctors and the medical experts at the hospital go ahead with procedures contrary to what they practiced? Why was there an attempt to delay the announcement of the death of a respected leader? The media had reported of the hospital administration telling the former Minister’s children that they received orders from the top. Why were they told to do so and by whom? The nameless fear resonates even in this case. What terror gripped the doctors compelling them to violate their work ethics? Why had the hospital and the medical experts crossed all the limits of humanity, democracy and even the minimum degree of decency and become vulnerable? What was the need of the high-voltage drama at the hospital using the advocates of fear?
The panic in the silence of the RBI as well as in the fraudulent approach of the RML hospital doesn’t seem to bother the Centre. The Parliament was denied permission to discuss the controversy regarding the disrespect shown to Ahmed in his last moments. A kind of fear evidently gripped everybody including the Parliament, the RBI and the hospital. The democracy would be of no value and the freedom, meaningless, as long as the nation remains uncleansed from the fear. The Centre cannot dodge the responsibility of carrying out an inquiry into all these matters and safeguarding the citizens. The representatives of the people too should be carrying out their duties.
The people should be certainly informed of the facts which they have the right to know from the government. Since the illogicality of the note ban move was bound to be questioned, it was right from the beginning dubbed as a ‘surgical strike’ against terrorists. The Jallikettu protests in Tamil Nadu was yet another incident where the psychological weapon of fear was used cleverly. It was when the agitators raised slogans about farmer suicides and the demonetisation crisis, that the accusations of Maoists being among them were raised. This fear is to control the people. They should acknowledge this fear and free themselves from its clutches in order to reclaim the lost freedom and power. A country envisaged by Tagore where the minds people are free from fears is the fundamental right of all the citizens.