Politics makes strange bedfellows and the Maha Vikas Aghadi state government has been alliance of three unlikely partners with the aim of keeping Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) out of power. And the ring master of this alliance is NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar, who has steered the alliance in the last two years. The alliance of convenience and contradictions has been working towards muzzling the free voice and crushing dissent with iron fist.
In the latest incident the Mumbai Police arrested 23 year old Nikhil Shyamrao Bhamre pharmacy student for an alleged objectionable tweet against NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. The case against the accused have been filed by NCP functionary and multiple FIR has been filed in an organized and synchronized manner for the alleged tweet is mala-fide and points to gross abuse of the process of law. In fact the alleged tweet do not promote enmity against any groups on ground of religion, race and neither threaten to disrupt public harmony. In a similar fashion week later Cine Artist Ketki Chitale was arrested for criticising NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
Last year the State govt arrested Union Minister Narayan Rane for criticising Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackrey. And last month the independent MLA Ravi Rana and his wife and Amravati MP Navneet Kaur Rana were arrested for planning to chant ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ on a loudspeaker outside Uddhav Thackeray’s private residence. Senior BJP leader Kirit Somaiya 68 years old was attacked by one hundred Shiv Sena Goons. Apart from Opposition leaders Bollywood Actress Kangana Ranaut faced the wrath of BMC demolition drive, when she criticized the state government expressing her insecurity of Mumbai feeling like POK.
In light of constant criticism of Maharashtra Government, reputed TV anchor Arnab Goswami assaulted and arrested Arnab Goswami from his residence. The brutal arrest and assault points out of witch hunt against Republic TV to silence any expression of dissent against the ruling MVA. The multiple, organized and synchronized FIR filed by multiple parties in this case also points out of an institutionalized framework established by the state government to subvert judicial institutions and the law enforcement agencies conniving with the political parties to crush dissent.
On the contrary the state government has turned blind eye on derogatory remarks made by Shiv Sena leader and actor Deepali Sayed. Former Congress leader Imran Masood had publicly threatened to chop Narendra Modi into pieces in 2014. Shiv Sena MP had called Narendra Modi follower of Adolf Hitler. Congress leader had compared PM Modi to Bhasmasur and Mani Shankar Aiyar had called PM Modi “chaiwala” & “neech aadmi”. Not to be left behind senior Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam called PM Modi “Anpadh & Gawar”. All of this expletives and jibes seems to have been inspired from Congress Supremo who called Narendra Modi as “Maut Ka Saudagar”.
On the one hand the Maharashtra state government is becoming increasingly draconian in its crackdown for state citizens expressing dissent against NCP Supremo the Prime Minister Modi has maintained stoic silence despite concerted attempt by the opposition funded propaganda campaign to defame Prime Minister time and again attacking him personally and holding him responsible for the second wave last year.
A spate of arrest in the last month in state of Maharashtra for dissent on social media, is sign of undeclared digital martial law imposed by MVA administration and exposes the hollowness of the so called progressive and liberal traditions. Justice D Y Chandrachud of the Supreme Court had stated that dissenting voices cannot be labelled as anti-national and in the liberal democracies the citizens enjoy the right to express. And its time for the Judiciary to wake up and direct the state government to uphold constitutional values and rights of citizens of the state thereby restraining the blatant use of power.