No one can get justice without fearing consequences: Rahul Gandhi - Hindustan Times

No one can get justice without fearing consequences: Rahul Gandhi

ByDivya Chandrababu, Hindustan Times, Puducherry
Feb 18, 2021 11:10 AM IST

When a student asked Gandhi how he felt about the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) members who assassinated his father Rajiv Gandhi, he said that he didn’t harbour any anger against them although he was pained by the killing.

Chennai: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday made a scathing remark that “none can get justice from the judicial system in the country without being terrified of the consequences” under the present regime. Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi while kickstarting the election campaign in Puducherry Wednesday where the Congress government is battling for survival with resignations of several MLAs ahead of the polls in April-May.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi interacts with students of Bharathidasan Government College for Women during his visit to Puducherry.(PTI)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi interacts with students of Bharathidasan Government College for Women during his visit to Puducherry.(PTI)

"Today, an Indian person cannot get justice from the judicial system without being terrified of what will be done to him,” he said adding that journalists feared for their lives, bills were passed in Parliament without any discussion and elected leaders like him were not allowed to speak in the Lok Sabha because, "one man thinks he is not the Prime Minister but he is the king of the country.”

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He alleged that Modi didn’t allow the elected government to function for the last five years in Puducherry. “Through the office of lieutenant governor, he is repeatedly sending you a message that your vote doesn't matter,” he said.

Gandhi on a one-day visit to Puducherry interacted with the fishermen community, followed by a meeting with students of Bharathidasan Government College for Women and wrapped it with a public meeting.

"Congress and particularly the family of Rahul Gandhi has underestimated the judiciary. His grandmother Indira Gandhi took away some powers of the judiciary during the emergency period. Now they cannot criticise judiciary just because what they expect isn't happening," said lawyer and BJP's national president of BJP's Mahila Morcha. "Judiciary, executive and legislature are watertight as per our Constitution. Judiciary is enjoying highest freedom in our country."

Disha Ravi’s arrest

Gandhi also spoke in support of young dissenters, their empowerment and said that people were being arrested in the country "for what they think" while responding to a question by a student on climate activist Disha Ravi’s arrest. Ravi, 22, was arrested by the Delhi Police on charges of sharing a document with Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg against the Centre’s contentious agricultural laws.

“Throughout the country people are being arrested for what they think. Maybe I'll get arrested for saying this,” said Gandhi. “If you're shutting up the nation and frightening people and not allowing them to talk, you're destroying the nation's character and destiny. No youngster in this country should allow anybody to frighten them into silence. Your words and thoughts make the country. That’s your power.”

On women’s empowerment

Gandhi urged the young women to be financially literate so they don’t have to be dependent on their parents or spouses. “Because I want you to have your own power.”

In a casual conversation, the women students addressed Gandhi as ‘Anna’ (elder brother in Tamil) since he appealed to them to not call him ‘sir’. They asked him personal and political questions about the loss of his father, his friendships, women and patriarchy. Gandhi in turn asked them to share stories of how they faced discrimination as women every-day. “You don’t have the same space that men and boys have. You have to occupy equal space and more. Without that India can’t achieve its potential,” Gandhi said, adding that he would support more than 50% reservation for participation of women in government. As a parliamentarian from Wayanad, he also lauded Kerala’s erstwhile matriarchal society as a good system to be followed.

‘My father is alive’

When a student asked Gandhi how he felt about LTTE members who assassinated Rajiv Gandhi, he said that he didn’t harbour any anger though he was pained. "Of course, I lost my father and for me it was a difficult time. It's like someone has cut your heart out. I felt tremendous pain. But I don’t feel angry. I don’t feel any hatred. I forgive,” Gandhi said. When asked how he was courageous to enter politics as his father and grand mother Indira Gandhi were assassinated he replied that his intention to do good for people through politics doesn't require courage. “I still carry my father with me,” said Gandhi. “Violence cannot take away anything from you. It doesn't have that power. My father is alive. A lot of things you have heard today, they came to me from my father. So my father is talking through me. So it’s not that my father is not here today.”

Lost in translation

His interaction with the fishermen saw at least two disagreements. Gandhi’s talk was translated in Tamil by Puducherry chief minister Narayanasamy. A fisherwoman here complained to Gandhi that Narayanasamy didn’t visit them in the aftermath of a cyclone in November. Narayanasamy mistranslated this on the mic, “During Cyclone Nivar, I came and visited the area, I gave her relief. That is what she is telling.” Gandhi patted him and responded that they would look into it. Social media and BJP leaders were quick to share this video clip. Gandhi’s translators in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry haven’t been able to convey his messages thoroughly in the past too.

Ministry squabble

Here, Gandhi also wondered why there was no fisheries ministry in Delhi referring to the crowd as ‘farmers of the sea’. Union fisheries minister Giriraj Singh reacted that a new ministry was established in 2019 that comes under the ministry of agriculture and forestry policies. Singh tweeted in Italian that there’s no separate fisheries ministry in Italy referring to Gandhi’s mother Sonia Gandhi’s birthplace. Congress’ social media leader Gaurav Pandhi countered this in a tweet that Singh needs to be schooled. “He is NOT a minister of fisheries’ and there is no dedicated ministry of fisheries like there is one for agriculture. What he is in-charge is a department of fisheries in his ministry,” he tweeted adding the official handle of the department.

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