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26/11: Never Forgive, Never Forget....

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Monday, November 25, 2019

On this day, 11 years ago, Mumbai fell victim to one of the worst terrorist attacks in India. The perpetrators from Lashkar-e-Taiba, terrorized the city, leaving 166 people dead and over 300 people injured. India is a much stronger state today than it was on 26/11/08 But the perpetrators of 26/11, including its mastermind and banned Jamat-ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, continue to roam freely in Pakistan. Can India emulate Israel in avenging 26/11?

What was the tragic event?

November 26, 2008, now called just ‘26/11’, was the day terror invaded Mumbai.
Ten Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, trained by Pakistani military and spy agency ISI, entered India on this day, hijacking a ship owned by Indian fishermen and killing them en route.

They targeted high-profile places including Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Taj Hotel at the Gateway of India, Cafe Leopold, Chabad House, Rang Bhavan Lane near Cama Hospital and St Xavier's College.

The next three days were gripped by terror, with the city witnessing lobbing of grenades and firing of assault weapons at prominent venues, killing scores and wounding many.

-Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CST)
Maximum city’s busiest railway station was attacked by two terrorists Ismail Khan and Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist who would later be caught alive.
Khan and Kasab entered the passenger hall at around 9:30 pm and opened fire using AK-47 rifles. The assault ended at 10:45 pm after killing 58 people and injuring 104.
A railway announcer, Vishnu Dattaram Zende saved several lives by alerting the commuters and asking them to leave the station from the back gate.

-Cama and Albless Hospital
After Kasab and Khan’s failed attempt to climb up the CST office due to resistance from the railway police, the two headed to Cama and Albless Hospital, one of the prominent hospitals for women and children. The duo entered the hospital from the rear gate.
The terrorists were engaged by a group of policemen for 45 minutes. Later, the duo threw hand grenades on the policemen, thus killing two and injuring several others.
The duo then left Cama Hospital and hid behind the bushes near Rang Bhavan and opened fire on a police jeep. The firing took the lives of three senior police officers Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte. Constable Arun Jadhav was the only survivor but was severely wounded.

-Leopold Café
The historic Leopold Cafe has been one of Mumbai’s iconic restaurants. On Nov 26, 2008, the cafe was attacked by two attackers, Shoaib alias Soheb and Nazir alias Abu Umer with gunfire and grenades during peak hours between 9:30 pm and 9:50 pm, leaving ten dead and injuring several others.
The cafe was opened four days later but was again shut for security measures. Later, after a month of renovation the cafe was opened but it till date continues to have bullet marks on its walls and mirrors as a reminder of the horrific incident.

-The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
The attack burnt the interiors of the luxurious Taj. The walls of the hotels were marred by bullet holes and grenade blasts and corridors with blood stains.
The hotel was brought back to full glory and was reopened to guests after 21 months of the attacks.

-Oberoi Trident
Over 30 people were killed in the attack here. The National Security Guard (NSG) rescued 250 people from the hotel.

-Nariman House
Nariman House, also known as Chabad House, a Chabad Lubavitch Jewish centre in Colaba was attacked by two terrorists on Nov. 26. The residents were held hostage. The adjacent buildings were evacuated by the police and the local residents were asked to stay indoors. A naval helicopter took an aerial survey of the area and NSG commandos were called.
Nine hostages were rescued on the first day and on the second day the house was stormed by NSG commandos. After a long battle between the commandos and the terrorists, NSG commando Havaldar Gajender Singh Bisht and both the terrorists were killed.
Sandra Samuel, the Indian nanny, saved the life of two-year-old Moshe Holtzberg during the 26/11 terrorist attacks on Nariman House. Both of Moshe's parents were killed in the attack. Moshe lives with his maternal grandparents Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg
It took four days for Indian security forces to kill all the terrorists and capture Mohammed Ajmal Kasab alive. But till then the damage was already done and the city bears the scars even today.

Why was Mumbai caught off-guard?
In 2014, former National Security Advisor (NSA) and West Bengal governor M K Narayanan (in picture above) said that intelligence agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau and the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW), to an extent, were aware of 26/11 targets but were caught off-guard by the audacity and the method chosen by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
Narayanan, who was heading the NSA at the time of the 2008 Mumbai carnage, said the need of the hour was to predict the timing and method of attacks, and this is where investigating agencies needed to hone their skills.

Referring to the three-day siege of Mumbai by 10 armed LeT men, he said, 
I know intelligence agencies were anticipating the attack… including some of the targets like the Taj. But the problem was what form it would be…The real failure on our part is that we did not know what form it would be and it will be such a brazen attack where special (trained) forces will be used .

It’s not as if India hadn’t been warned.

The city was hit by a series of terrorist bombings amid worsening communal relations in 1993 and then in 2003, leaving a combined toll of more than 300 lives. Alarmingly, the abortive armed attack on Parliament of the world’s biggest democracy came within three months of 9/11.

Responsibility remains hard to fix. Later reports comprehensively pointed to warnings issued by the local police in Mumbai although, equally, the intelligence agencies of three countries — India, the US and the UK — failed to piece together evidence of an imminent attack that they had gathered separately from a variety of human intelligence and listening sources.

As later events in Europe and America have shown, no country is ever entirely prepared for terrorist attacks. Time and again, countries with far more sophisticated and technologically savvy police forces have been caught out by the innovations of terrorists. If the Mumbai attack was the result of terrorists tapping into available technologies, including Google Earth and satellite phones, with handlers monitoring television coverage in Pakistan, others in Europe have used nothing more sophisticated than a machete or simply a car or a van.
Unpredictability is the nature of asymmetric warfare.

When does Pakistan appear unwilling to ensure justice?
Of the ten militants trained, equipped and financed by the banned Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), nine terrorists – Ajmal Amir, Abu Ismail Dera, Hafiz Arshad, Babar Imran, Javed, Shoaib, Nazir Ahmed, Nasir, Abdul Rahman and Fahadullah – were shot dead during the attacks.
25-year-old Ajmal Kasab – the only militant captured alive – was hanged to death at Pune’s Yerwada Jail on November 21, 2012 in a swift and secret execution.

Though the 10 militants were eliminated in India, none of the suspects in Pakistan have been punished, indicating that this case has never been a priority for Pakistan, which becomes clearer after the continuous cycle of ‘arrest’ and release of the attack's mastermind, Hafiz Saeed, over the last few years.

The co-founder of LeT the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and mastermind of the attacks Hafiz Saeed walked free on November 24, 2017 after nine-and-a-half-month “house arrest” without any charges. Pakistan justified the release of Saeed, saying that courts, pursuant to their constitutional duty, were determined to uphold rule of law and due process for all citizens. Saeed's release virtually 'boosted the morale' of the six other suspects facing the trial in Pakistan for the last eight years, believed Saeed's supporters.

Saeed was ‘arrested’ again earlier this year (2019) in order for Pakistan to avoid being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Pakistan may remain on the FATF's Grey List beyond February 2020 for money laundering and terror financing due to its "risk profile", according to media reports. Pakistan was placed on the Grey List by the Paris-based FATF in June 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete it by October 2019, or face the risk of being placed on the Black List with Iran and North Korea.

Saeed was in October allowed by an anti-terror committee of the UN Security Council to withdraw money from his bank account for basic expenses on Pakistan's request. He was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. According to UN provisions, all states are required to freeze the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals. The 1267 Committee, which deals with terror groups like the Islamic State, the al-Qaeda and associated individuals and organisations, said that it approved Pakistan's request after no objections were placed before it by the set deadline of August 15, 2019.

Saeed, a UN designated terrorist whom the US has placed a USD 10 million bounty on, was arrested on July 17 this year in a terror financing case in Pakistan. He is lodged at the Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail in high security.

Where did Mumbai’s spirit save lives?

-The man who got shot twice
India Today reported the story of the owner of Refresh restaurant at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) station heard gunshots coming from the nearby washroom. While he gave refuge to many people in his restaurant and asked them to hide under the tables, he himself was standing outside and got shot twice.
With one bullet in his abdomen and another in the chest, this brave man took a cab and went to the Bombay hospital all alone where he was treated by shocked doctors. Things got worse for him when he slipped into coma and was declared 'dead' on November 27. But after his organs began healing, he was up on his feet and starting working again by mid-December.

This man, with a strong sense of humanity, volunteered to be shot because behind him were 18 cylinders which, if shot, could have exploded and killed all those he was trying to save.
The staff of the Taj
The Taj staff showed presence of mind and bolted the banquet hall doors of the Crystal Room outside which the terrorists were standing.

Even during the evacuation process, the terrorists were able to find people stuck in the Chambers corridor because a few politicians had declared their position on live television and those innocent people were shot and killed.
Even as the cops who were supposed to escort the trapped people ran for cover, the Taj employees formed a human circle around their guests when the terrorists started firing again. Putting the guest first also for them meant putting their lives on the line.

-Vishnu Dattaram Zende
In 2008, Vishnu Dattaram Zende was a suburban railway announcer. His usual routine saw him leave from Nalasopara, where he still lives with his wife and two children, and take the train to CSMT. Once at the station, he’d go up to the announcement booth and rattle off details of train arrivals and departures for eight hours. Then November 26, 2008 happened.
Upon realising that CST was under attack, Zende started making fervent pleas to hundreds of commuters to avoid the Main Line exit gate and take the rear gate instead. He kept announcing the whereabouts of the terrorists for 25 minutes, both in Hindi and Marathi.

The announcer’s booth is above the station master’s office, offering Zende an overview of the station. “I saw the men walking with guns … to the suburban railway section and firing indiscriminately. They were throwing hand-grenades. This is when I realised it was a terrorist attack,” Zende told in an interview in 2018.
“I told people to use the exit of platform number one and to not come forward as I could see terrorists walking in that direction. The passengers rushed out, following my instructions,” he said. There’s no calculating how many lives Zende saved with his announcements.

The gunmen soon realised what Zende was doing. “All of sudden, I saw a terrorist firing at the direction of our booth. We (Zende and his colleague) ducked under our desks,” he said. They heard the glass window shatter, but Zende escaped any injuries.
After a while, Zende from his vantage point saw the two terrorists walk out of CSMT. He and other railway personnel rushed to the outstation terminus area and found the carnage Kasab and Ismail had left behind. While Zende’s announcements had saved the lives of countless suburban train passengers, the outstation section of CST got neither a warning nor time to escape. Nearly 60 people died in the attack“The bodies lying there, surrounded by blood, it was terrifying,” said Zende. “I started announcing for railway personnel, cleaning staff, porters and whoever could rush to the terminus area to help the injured.” Zende stayed in CST that night and returned home the next day.

Eleven years, one promotion (he’s now a railway guard), a cash award of ₹10 lakh from the then railway minister and a meeting with former US President Barack Obama later, Zende still avoids the topic that changed his life. He freezes the moment he is asked about the 26/11 terror attacks. 

"Just the mere mention of it irks me to the core. I feel bad, very bad. You do not wish this upon your greatest enemy... I am an honest and dedicated employee of the government and will continue being one. No matter what happens tomorrow, I will carry out my duties without an ounce of fear or self-doubt," reaffirms the suburban guard.
26/11 shaped only one real change in Zende: “There is no fear left in me anymore.” India could also say the same.

Who were involved in the attack?
The mastermind of the attacks, Hafiz Saeed currently lives a dominating and active political life – from inside and outside the jail - in Pakistan.
It is believed that Saeed supervised one of the many training sessions of the ten attackers and also wished them luck and waved them off before they set sail for Mumbai near Karachi.
In December 2001, former military ruler Pervez Musharraf had put Saeed under house arrest and banned his group LeT, for its involvement in the Indian Parliament attack. However, he walked free after a few months.
He was again arrested in May 2002. He then moved his plea to the High Court and got a reprieve as the government failed to file any charges.

Saeed was detained on January 31, 2017, after Pakistani newspapers reported that the United States threatened sanctions against Islamabad if he was not put behind bars. However, the government dropped terrorism charges against Saeed, and paved the way for his eventual release the next year.
As mentioned before, he has again been arrested in 2019 but is believed to be carrying out all his political activities from the comforts and safety of the high-security prison.
Here are a few of LeT’s other prime members who played key roles in planning and executing the attacks masterminded by Hafiz Saeed.

Daood Sayed Gilani alias David Coleman Headley
Pakistan-born American terrorist and a close aide of Saeed, he made five trips to Mumbai from 2007 to 2008 and did a recce of prominent Mumbai spots.

During his visits, he stayed at the Taj Hotel and did a detailed reconnaissance of the building. This research helped Lashkar-e-Taiba in plotting the attacks. He was arrested in Chicago. In February 2016, he was prosecuted by a Mumbai special court via a video trial from his prison cell in the United States.
For a good one and half years into the probe into the attack, not one officer was even aware of the existence of this man. The one fine day, news broke out from the US that the agencies out there had arrested a man called David Headley. This was news to all including the agencies in India.

The US too manipulated the issue well. India was not made aware of the arrest immediately. He was arrested, following which he entered into a plea bargain in the US, which barred him from being extradited to India. The plea bargain also stated that he shall not be sentenced to death.

The question was what was the US guarding so desperately. It was later learnt that Headley was a double agent. He was sent on an assignment to Pakistan and Afghanistan by the CIA to track down a drug cartel. He is said to have turned rogue and come under the influence of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Al-Qaeda. The association that the US had with him after that is not clear, but the manner in which he was guarded by the United States was fishy and remains fishy.

Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi
Lakhvi was arrested about a week after the Mumbai attacks when Pakistani soldiers raided an LeT camp on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
He was later released from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on the orders of the Lahore high court. He is said to have offered Ajmal Kasab’s family a sum of Rs 1,50,000 for his participation in the attacks.
Indian and US security officials claim that telephone and VoIP intercepts showed Lakhvi was present in the LeT control room in Karachi from where the attackers received instructions. Despite being in prison, Lakhvi continues to be the operations commander of the LeT.

Zarar Shah
Another top LeT commander named in the 26/11 chargesheet, Zarar Shah played a key role in monitoring the training sessions of the ten militants recruited for the ‘mission’.
It is believed that during those 72 horrific hours of attack in Mumbai, Zarar was in touch with the terrorists on their mobile phones, giving them constant operational and motivational instructions. The telephonic conversations were intercepted and recorded by the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS).
In the crackdown following 26/11, Shah was also arrested along with Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. Some reports said he has confessed to his role in the 26/11 attacks.

Abu Jundal
Jundal is an Indian national who was associated with LeT and Indian Mujahideen, and is on the list of 50 most wanted criminals sheltered in Pakistan. During the 26/11 attacks, he served as the handler of the 10 militants and was in the control room during the entire carnage.
It is believed that he asked the terrorists to kill hostages and ask for specific demands before the authorities and media. He is also a co-accused in the German bakery blast case.

Abu Hamza
Named as a key suspect in the 26/11 case, Hamza is a top Lashkar operative who, according to the Mumbai Police Crime Branch, was one of the handlers and trainers of the group of ten terrorists chosen for the attacks.
Hamza played a hands-on role during the training phase of the operation. He is also alleged to be involved in the attack on the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore in 2005.

How can India avenge 26/11?

Eliminate Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan
India, forced to watch helplessly from the sidelines as the UNSC allowed UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed to access his bank account and withdraw monthly pension on an appeal from Pakistan, would know where the shoe pinches.
Indians, long sufferers of terrorism unleashed by Pakistan which drains the nation’s resources and imposes unacceptable military, financial, logistical and social costs, might be forgiven for feeling a pang of jealousy at the way US has been able to neutralise its two prime targets – Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi through years of careful planning, meticulous intelligence gathering and finally a show of geopolitical, strategic and military might.
Nobody expects New Delhi to carry out such operations in foreign land to eliminate terrorists it considers as national security threats and prime targets. The surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) and airstrikes in Balakot were fashioned more as signals of India’s intent of meeting the threat of Pakistan’s sub-conventional warfare under the atomic umbrella than any special operation targeted towards eliminating a specific terrorist threat.

But even as India lacks the hard power to achieve those military objectives, it has shown a singular disability to even move towards such an objective in the long run. The sad state of affairs in India is reflected by the fact that after even 70 years of Independence, and despite living in a tough neighborhood amid hostile nuclear-armed States inimical to India’s interests, it still hasn’t been able to develop a coherent national security strategy.

Professor Happymon Jacob from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), who teaches on national security, wrote in The Hindu that
“National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) had formulated draft national security strategy documents on four different occasions and presented them to successive governments, but the political class wouldn’t bite. There has been a lingering worry in the minds of the politicians about a potential commitment trap if a national security strategy were to be put on paper.”

P Chidambaram, now himself languishing in jail on corruption charges, had taken over the sensitive home ministry days after the November 26, 2008 attacks in Mumbai. When asked if India could eliminate Saeed through a Obama-kind operation, he said in 2013,
“Soon after the Mumbai attacks, Hafiz Saeed was in a safe house in Karachi. He now roams around freely but we don’t have the capability of targeting him in a raid like the one the Americans undertook. We didn’t have the capability then (in 2008) and I’ll be pleasantly surprised if we have it now. If we had tried, we would’ve failed and that would have been a bigger blow. We conveyed diplomatically, in no uncertain terms, that any Mumbai-like repetition would invite retaliation and that message was strongly conveyed to Pakistan.”

It is pointless to suggest that India can emulate Israel and its unique set of challenges, but the nation offers a more trackable model compared to America’s. At the end of the day, however, it is about having clear goals and achieving them, and setting national security high on the list of priorities. Also, Obama was re-elected after eliminating Osama. Trump might get reelected for eliminating Baghdadi. Eliminating Saeed is the surest way for the current government in India to return with a thumping majority (again) in 2024. Politicians respond to political incentives. There are four years for the nationalistic government to plan and implement what most certainly seems like a mission impossible.

How is Mumbai protected today?
Terrorism continues to pose the greatest threat to the internal security of the country. According to the US Country Reports on Terrorism 2016, India is the third most affected country after Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of the number of attacks perpetrated on its soil. It is estimated that a total of 52 terrorist groups are active in different parts of India, which is higher than in any other country.

In the wake of the terror attack, several steps were initiated to streamline the security set-up. Coastal security was given high priority, and it is with the Navy/Coast Guard/marine police. A specialised agency to deal with terrorist offences, the National Investigation Agency, was set up and has been functioning from January 2009. The National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) has been constituted to create an appropriate database of security related information. Finally rolled out in 2016, the NATGRI project remains a pipe dream to this day, with Union current the home ministry still unsure about when the grid might actually start functioning. In the ongoing winter session of Parliament, the ministry has informed that the NATGRID will come into operation only by the end of 2020.

Four new operational hubs for the National Security Guard (NSG) have been created to ensure rapid response to terror attacks. The Multi Agency Centre, which functions under the Intelligence Bureau, was further strengthened and its activities expanded. The Navy constituted a Joint Operations Centre to keep vigil over India’s extended coastline.
Here’s how Mumbai’s coast has been guarded since the 26/11 terror siege exposed the chinks in the city’s security.

Indian Navy
After 26/11, the Navy was made the nodal agency for 15 central agencies and state agencies to co-ordinate coastal security. The Navy now forms the first line of defence and is on constant alert monitoring the sea through aerial surveillance and patrol from 22 nautical from the coast.
The navy’s Western Naval Command is headquartered in Mumbai and includes:

-INS Angre – Provides shore-based logistics and administrative support for the Command. It is like a mother ship that controls and oversees the functioning of a wide array of diverse units and facilities.
-INS Shikra – Strategic Helicopter gun ship base of Indian Navy
-INS Aswini – Naval Command Hospital
-NOFRA - Naval Officers Residential Area, which includes the Naval Transport Pool, Naval Dockyard, Indian Naval Sailors Home ‘Sagar’ and INS Abhimanyu - MARCOS base (at Uran)
-INS Hamla – Logistics training establishment
-INS Agnibahu – Missile boat base
-INS Trata – Missile battery base
Mazagon Docks Limited

Indian Coast Guard
It is one agency that has undergone dramatic changes since 26/11. With a mandate to patrol the sea between 12 nautical miles and 22 nautical miles from the coast, the Coast Guard now has state-of-the-art weaponry and equipment. It has also augmented its air and surface fleet to a large extent.

Mumbai Coastal Police
The third tier of security continues to be the weakest link as the state government continues to neglect coastal security.
Mired in red tape, delays and lack of knowledge of how to operate at sea, Mumbai’s coastal police needs radical changes if it has to effectively patrol the sea up to 12 nautical miles from the coast.
But terror has evolved too
One new variant is the concept of ‘enabled terror’ or ‘remote controlled terror’, viz. violence conceived and guided by a controller thousands of miles away. Today the ‘lone wolf’ is, more often than not, part of a remote-controlled initiative, with a controller choosing the target, the nature of the attack and even the weaponry to be used.

Internet-enabled terrorism and resort to remote plotting is thus the new threat. Operating behind a wall of anonymity, random terror is likely to become the new terror imperative. There are no ready-made answers to this new threat. Vigilance is important, but remaining ahead of the curve is even more vital.



US eliminates IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: Can India take out Hafiz Saeed or Masood Azhar? If not, what are our options?

On Pak request, UNSC allows Hafiz Saeed to withdraw money from bank account

Pakistan may remain on FATF Grey List beyond Feb 2020: Report

6 Dead, 200 Hurt as Pak Police & Protesters Clash Over ‘Blasphemy’

26/11 Mumbai attacks: Here’s what happened on the horrific day at ‘those’ 6 places; see pictures

Intel agencies knew of 26/11 targets but were caught off-guard: Narayanan

Post 26/11, this is the security ring that keeps Mumbai safe

Remembering 26/11: Heart-rending stories of the survivors

Nine years on, the scars of 26/11 terror attacks are yet to heal

Opinion | Mumbai terror strike: A footnote in history

26/11 perpetrators in Pak jails 'know' they won't be punished

More than a decade after 26/11, India yet to fortify intelligence gathering

Ten years after the Mumbai attack
26/11 anniversary: It’s been 9 years but Pak still fails to act

Big 26/11 catch: The terror tapes expose

अपने आखिरी भाषण में बी.आर. आंबेडकर ने कौन सी तीन चेतावनी दी थीं?

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स्वतंत्र भारत के इतिहास में 26 नवंबर का अपना महत्व है, क्योंकि इसी दिन वर्ष 1949 में, भारत के संविधान को अपनाया गया था और यह पूर्ण रूप से 26 जनवरी, 1950 को लागू हुआ था। इसलिए इस दिन को भारत के एक नए युग की सुबह को चिह्नित करने के रूप में जाना जाता है। संविधान के निर्माताओं के योगदान को स्वीकार करने और उनके मूल्यों के बारे में लोगों को जागरूक करने के लिए, 26 नवंबर को 'संविधान दिवस' (Constitution Day) के रूप में मनाया जाता है।
गौरतलब है कि, भाजपा की अगुवाई वाली सरकार ने वर्ष 2015 में 19 नवंबर को गजट नोटिफिकेशन द्वारा 26 नवंबर को 'संविधान दिवस' के रूप में घोषित किया था। इससे पहले, सुप्रीम कोर्ट बार एसोसिएशन द्वारा वर्ष 1979 में एक प्रस्ताव के बाद से इस दिन को 'राष्ट्रीय कानून दिवस' (National Law Day) के रूप में जाना जाने लगा था।

बाबासाहेब भीमराव आंबेडकर का चर्चित भाषण
25 नवंबर, 1949 को संविधान सभा द्वारा अपनी कार्यवाही को समाप्त करने के एक दिन पहले, संविधान की ड्राफ्टिंग समिति के अध्यक्ष, बी. आर. आंबेडकर ने सभा को संबोधित करते हुए एक भाषण दिया, जोकि काफी चर्चित हुआ। गौरतलब है कि इस भाषण में उन्होंने नव निर्मित राष्ट्र के सामने आने वाली चुनौतियों का विस्तार से वर्णन करने के साथ ही बड़े संयमित शब्दों में उन चुनौतियों से निपटने के तरीके भी सुझाए थे। मौजूदा लेख में, हम उनके द्वारा भारत, भारत के संविधान और भारत के लोकतंत्र को लेकर दी गयी 3 चेतावनियाँ एवं उनके तार्किक सुझाव आपके समक्ष रखेंगे।
आंबेडकर की तीन चेतावनी
बाबासाहेब भीमराव आंबेडकर की पहली चेतावनी, लोकतंत्र में 'विरोध के तरीकों' के बारे में थी। "व्यक्ति को सविनय अवज्ञा, असहयोग और सत्याग्रह के तरीकों को छोड़ना चाहिए," उन्होंने कहा था।
उनके भाषण में दूसरी चेतावनी, किसी राजनीतिक व्यक्ति या सत्ता के आगे लोगों/नागरिकों के नतमस्तक हो जाने की प्रवृति को लेकर थी। "धर्म में भक्ति, आत्मा के उद्धार का मार्ग हो सकती है। लेकिन राजनीति में, भक्ति या नायक की पूजा, पतन और अंततः तानाशाही के लिए एक निश्चित मार्ग सुनिश्चित करती है," उन्होंने कहा था।
उनकी अंतिम और तीसरी चेतावनी थी कि भारतीयों को केवल राजनीतिक लोकतंत्र से संतोष प्राप्त नहीं करना चाहिए, क्योंकि राजनीतिक लोकतंत्र प्राप्त कर लेने भर से भारतीय समाज में अंतर्निहित असमानता खत्म नहीं हो जाती है। "अगर हम लंबे समय तक इससे (समानता) वंचित रहे, तो हम अपने राजनीतिक लोकतंत्र को संकट में डाल लेंगे," उन्होंने कहा था।
इसके अलावा वह अपने भाषण के दौरान इस बात को लेकर काफी सचेत थे, कि यदि हम न केवल रूप में, बल्कि वास्तव में संविधान के जरिये लोकतंत्र को बनाए रखना चाहते हैं, तो हमें इसके लिए क्या करना होगा।

आंबेडकर के प्रमुख सुझाव
आंबेडकर ने अपनी पहली चेतावनी के सम्बन्ध में यह सुझाव दिया था कि यदि हमे अपने सामाजिक और आर्थिक उद्देश्यों को प्राप्त करना है तो संवैधानिक तरीकों पर तेजी से अपनी पकड़ बनानी होगी। उनका मानना था कि कि हमें खूनी क्रांति के तरीकों को पीछे छोड़ देना चाहिए। इससे उनका तात्पर्य, सविनय अवज्ञा, असहयोग और सत्याग्रह की पद्धति को छोड़ देने से था। यह चौंकाने वाला अवश्य हो सकता है, परन्तु उन्होंने अपने इस विचार को साफ़ करते हुए आगे कहा था कि जब आर्थिक और सामाजिक उद्देश्यों को प्राप्त करने के लिए संवैधानिक तरीकों के उपयोग करने के लिए कोई रास्ता मौजूद नहीं था, तब इन असंवैधानिक तरीकों का इस्तेमाल किया जाना उचित था। लेकिन जहां संवैधानिक तरीके खुले हैं (संविधान के जरिये), वहां इन असंवैधानिक तरीकों को अपनाने का कोई औचित्य नहीं हो सकता है।
आंबेडकर ने अपनी दूसरी चेतावनी के सम्बन्ध में सुझाव देने के लिए जॉन स्टुअर्ट मिल के लोकतंत्र के प्रति विचार को उद्धृत करते हुए कहा था कि किसी नेता या किसी संस्था के समक्ष, नागरिकों को अँधा समर्पण नहीं करना चाहिए। दरअसल मिल ने कहा था कि, "किसी महापुरुष के चरणों में अपनी स्वतंत्रता को समर्पित या उस व्यक्ति पर, उसमें निहित शक्ति के साथ भरोसा नहीं करना चाहिए, जो शक्ति उसे संस्थानों को अपने वश में करने में सक्षम बनाती हैं।" आंबेडकर का यह मानना था कि उन महापुरुषों के प्रति आभारी होने में कुछ भी गलत नहीं है, जिन्होंने देश के लिए जीवन भर अपनी सेवाएं प्रदान की हैं। लेकिन कृतज्ञता की अपनी सीमाएं होती हैं।

Daniel O’Connell
आंबेडकर ने अपनी बात को आगे बढ़ाते हुए आयरिश पैट्रियट डैनियल ओ'कोनेल के विचार को भी सदन के सामने रखा था। डैनियल ओ'कोनेल के मुताबिक, "कोई भी व्यक्ति अपने सम्मान की कीमत पर किसी और के प्रति आभारी नहीं हो सकता है, कोई भी महिला अपनी शुचिता की कीमत पर किसी के प्रति आभारी नहीं हो सकती है और कोई भी देश, अपनी स्वतंत्रता की कीमत पर किसी के प्रति आभारी नहीं हो सकता है।"
आंबेडकर यह मानते थे कि भारत के मामले में, यह सावधानी बरती जानी, किसी अन्य देश की तुलना में कहीं अधिक आवश्यक है। उनके अनुसार भारत में, भक्ति (या जिसे आत्मा के उद्धार का मार्ग कहा जा सकता है), देश की राजनीति में वह भूमिका निभाती है, जो दुनिया के किसी भी अन्य देश की राजनीति में निभाई नहीं जाती है। उनका यह मानना था कि, धर्म में भक्ति, आत्मा के उद्धार का मार्ग हो सकती है, लेकिन राजनीति में, भक्ति या नायक-पूजा, तानाशाही की राह सुनिश्चित करती है।
आंबेडकर ने अपनी तीसरी चेतावनी के सम्बन्ध में यह सुझाव दिया था कि हमें मात्र राजनीतिक लोकतंत्र (Political Democracy) से संतुष्ट नहीं होना चाहिए, बल्कि हमे समानता (Equality), स्वतंत्रता (Liberty) और बंधुत्व (Fraternity) के अंतर्निहित सिद्धांतों के साथ सामाजिक लोकतंत्र के लिए भी प्रयासरत रहना चाहिए। हमें अपने राजनीतिक लोकतंत्र को एक सामाजिक लोकतंत्र (Social Democracy) भी बनाना होगा। उनके अनुसार, एक राजनीतिक लोकतंत्र तब तक प्रगति नहीं कर सकता, जब तक कि उसका आधार सामाजिक लोकतंत्र नहीं होता है।
गौरतलब है कि मई 1936 में छपी 'जाति का विनाश' (Annihiliation of Caste) नामक अपनी उल्लेखनीय पुस्तिका में उन्होंने यह साफ़ तौर पर कहा था कि लोकतंत्र में आमूल-चूल परिवर्तन लाने के लिए सबसे पहले समानता लाने पर जोर दिया जाना होगा और राजनीतिक परिवर्तन के पहले, सामाजिक परिवर्तन पर जोर दिया जाना चाहिए।
उनका कहना था,
"राजनीतिक लोकतंत्र तब तक नहीं चल सकता जब तक कि वह सामाजिक लोकतंत्र के आधार पर टिका हुआ नहीं है। सामाजिक लोकतंत्र का क्या अर्थ है? यह जीवन का एक तरीका है, जो जीवन के सिद्धांतों के रूप में स्वतंत्रता, समानता और बंधुत्व को पहचान देता है।"
भारत नामक विचार को जीवित रखने के लिए आम्बेडकर के अंतिम शब्द हमे पढने चाहिए एवं आत्ममंथन करना चाहिए। उनके कहना था कि,
"... हमें यह नहीं भूलना चाहिए कि इस स्वतंत्रता ने हमें महान जिम्मेदारियां दी हैं। स्वतंत्रता के बाद से हम कुछ भी गलत होने पर अब अंग्रेजों को दोषी नहीं ठहरा सकते हैं। यदि यहाँ से चीजें गलत हो जाती हैं, तो हमारे पास खुद को छोड़कर, दोष देने के लिए कोई नहीं होगा..."
यह कहना ग़लत नहीं होगा कि यह उनकी दूरदर्शिता ही थी कि वे संविधान सभा के आख़िरी भाषण में आर्थिक और सामाजिक गैरबराबरी के ख़ात्मे को राष्ट्रीय एजेंडे के रूप में सामने लेकर आये।


साभार: लाइव लॉ हिंदी 
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