19, Sep 2018 | CJP Team
In an exclusive interview to Teesta Setalvad, (Retd) Justice PB Sawant tells us why no action has been taken against Sambhaji Bhide in the Bhima Koregaon case so far. He also explains how the two sets of raids on activists and dissenting voices are a part of a wider RSS agenda to replace the Constitution with the Manusmriti and further their supremacist agenda.
Transcript of the Interview:
Teesta Setalvad (TS): Thank You Justice Sawant for agreeing to talk to us. As always your words and your thoughts are extremely important to us on very very important issues facing the country today. Because the burning discourses around the issue of Elgaar Parishad arise… Can we start at looking at how the entire question on the role of Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote is sidelined or attempted to be sidelined by the Police because of the political pressure.
Justice PB Sawant (PBS): You see what has happened is, they woke up for the first time 5 months after the conference that was held. The object of the conference was to educate people about what they are doing to our Constitution.
TS (referring to the conference): … That is Elgaar Parishad
PBS: That is Elgaar Parishad… and give a slogan, ‘Save the Constitution and Save the Nation’. That was the slogan which was planned to be given. We had a similar conference at the same venue on 4th Oct 2015, giving the same slogan.
TS: I believe that the first conference of Elgaar Parishad had rattled the RSS.
PBS: It appears so because thereafter, there was a public rally, some distance away from the venue, where we had held a conference and they tried to cover the weaknesses and in the process they exposed themselves more.
TS: What was the point of their meeting? What did they say at the meeting?
PBS: It appears that they wanted to reply to what we had said in the conference. But they have not only not replied but actually they have proved our charges about their organisation, mainly RSS, about the intentions of the their present Govt which is obviously their political incarnation. And what they are going to do to the country. Now whatever we have said in 2015, and what we said now on the 31st Dec 2017 have been proved by their own actions. And that is what we want the people to be alerted about. They have never made it a secret they want to change the Constitution. Not only that but they want to bring in instead of Democracy, Fascism.
PBS: Fascism. Instead of secularism they want Manuwadi Hindu Rashtra. It is not only Hindu Rashtra but Manuwadi Hindu Rashtra. Though they are saying Hindu Rashtra. And we have had a taste of this Manuwadi Hindu Rashtra, during the Peshwa regime in this country which ended only in 1818 actually started from 1708, or 7 to be exact, up to 1818. So for more than 110 years of their regime and we have seen the cruelest possible regime in the world I would say… as a result of which, those who were exploited and brutally treated, then they fought along with the British against the Peshwa. They were 500 or 600 of them who routed the Peshwa! It was an army which consisted of mostly the non-brahmins on both sides. On the one side those who were fighting the British were also non-brahmins and on the other side also non-brahmins. And at that time the (Peshwa) army was also of 20,000, I am told only 500 people routed them! To commemorate that victory of…
TS: 200 years
PBS: In fact that was the 200th year in 2018. They raised a victory column. And every year they have been going in procession to pay homage. And this year it was the 200th anniversary so there was more enthusiasm, more people had come.
TS: It was well planned and announced well in advance
PBS: Well in advance. And more people from different states had gathered and they had gathered on the 31st December evening. And we had planned a conference just on the day. Of course we had nothing to do with the march, procession to Koregaon. As in 2015 we had also planned. But we took advantage of that fact that there will be a large number of people…
TS: Going through…
PBS: … who need a education, on the past history and what is happening at the present time and what the intention of the present Government is. We will educate them and there were many speakers who addressed the meeting. The next day, there was a march but we had nothing to do with it. Our gathering… was already over… different from that. And we told the people that the present regime is not regime of any political party. It is a political calamity. Because they want to change our identity, the identity of our country. The ideals of our Constitution are in one direction and the present Govt regime wants to take the country in a completely opposite direction. And this is a menace which in any case must be prevented. That was the resolve that was taken at the end of the conference.
TS: The pledge…
PBS: Where all people gathered there that we will not rest till we overthrow this government. Of course the Constitution wins this way. Their manifesto always says that we will overthrow the Constitution.
PBS: But today after 5 months they have tried to construe the word ‘overthrow’ by saying that this overthrowing is by violence. Now that they know that there is a lot of discontent within the people and they have failed on all fronts, they are trying to find out scapegoats. The first scapegoat is of course the people who…some of whom were associated with us and they said that these people are either Naxalites or associated with Naxalites. So they started arrests, from that day and the latest arrests were on the 28th of Aug. So I believe that they are getting panicky. They see enemy everyday. Just as Kansa saw Lord Krishna everywhere, they see their enemy in their political opponents. Their critics, journalists, lawyers and so on and so forth. Now they have found out a new word for the enemy, ie. the Naxalite. Now for the last 4 years of course as they have conducting themselves, they have made their intentions very clear people have to learn what they have done in the past. They have given a concrete evidence now this no longer remains in the regime of words. We see the deeds. At present an atmosphere of insecurity and fear is created all around. But if this regime thinks they can repress the opponent. I think they are living in illusion. They have not learned anything from history. Not only of this country but of the world. For sometime, they may succeed because they believe that with the pots of money they have and the organisations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which today, I am told is the richest organisation in the world.
TS: In the world?!
PBS: In the world! They will be in a position again to buy the seats, and be in majority to continue their regime for at least 5 years more. It is for the people, so teach a lesson to them. And of course we know with the poverty at large in our country many of the voters may fall victim to their bait of money. I understand the going on rate for voter is between Rs 2000-5000.
TS: That is a very serious thing sir.
PBS: And this has… we have seen in Karnataka elections. I am told that they have spent Rs. 15,000 cr that is what is reported. This maybe correct may not be correct, And the on going rate for the MLAs for horse trading was between 100 cr to 200 crs. So this gives us a slight insight into their financial capacity. And since the PM and his right hand who is also the President of the ruling party have commercial outlook even while running a political regime… it appears their intention is to purchase anything with money. It may extend it to… it has already in the past it has been extended to win the seats with the help money.
TS: But in Karnataka also when the opposition does come together.
PBS: Yes. the only answer is the entire opposition who abide by the Constitution and don’t want any change in the Constitution should come together at this hour and there needs to be an only one point program, to overthrow this Government in any case in the coming elections.
TS: You mention this desire to divert the entire episode away from Elgaar Parishad and Bhima koregaon and you gave us a very good history of Bhima koregaon but even the first FIR of the Pune Police was of Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote in terms of the actions they took against the Dalits, for a gathering they took for their own commemoration and yet no action has been taken against them for their criminal actions for months. And we know the allegiance these two gentlemen have. What would you like to say about that?
PBS: See there is nothing surprising. In what the Govt is doing. They are protecting the so called Hindutva element. Whatever crime they may commit or whatever the nature of crime the Hindutva commit, they will never be booked and the pressure of the popular, I would say, opinion the investigation against them will be kept so loose that ultimately they will be acquitted by the Court. So I have today no faith in the Police investigation. And I don’t blame them, they are working under the pressure of the Govt. It is bread and butter for them which matters more than what we say. But this is what is happening. We have come to a situation which is exactly what was happening during the Hitler’s regime in Germany.
TS: Sir, you have called them a fascist regime. That is a very serious charge. Why would you call them a Fascist regime?
PBS: Fascism because it is designed as a dictatorship orientated in the religious fundamentalism. There is no doubt that this particular regime, their first priority is their Hindu Rashtra which means no other Hindu Rashtra. And all that they are trying to do is press that issue. And they see that all minorities and also all poor in the country the masses as their enemies. Because they are banking up on the middle class for whom they are trying to do everything. They are completely ignoring the peasants, the workers, the employees and so on and so forth. And they want to satisfy the vocal section of the society which has sustained them in the last election which has sustained them for the last 4 years and they hope to win with their votes.
TS: There has been some media reports recently on Sanathan Sanstha in the last 3 months and the role of the Sanathan Sanstha unearthed in the Gauri Lankesh killing first by the SIT Karnataka and Maharashtra ATS has also unearthed things like bomb, grenade, and some gelatin sticks etc. This was just a few weeks before the whole brouhaha about the recent arrests. Do you think there was reason, to divert the attention from this?
PBS: There is no doubt about this. They want to divert attention not only what the Hindutva elements have been doing in this country, sabotaging peace, they want to divert attention also from their failures and the grievances of the people.
TS: The rising prices, farmers, workers. I have one more question for you… you talked so eloquently in Marathi is that, recently you received a letter, from the PM addressed to you. What do you have to say about it?
PBS: So I have written about my stand on Swachh Bharat. So I think the PM should first cleanse his own heart. And once that is done, the country will become clean on its own.
TS: Thank You.