Selective application of Law

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Though the Constitution says all are equal before the law, when it comes to implementation, the law moves fast only in the case of common man who has no political clout.

Though the Constitution says all are equal before the law, when it comes to implementation, the law moves fast only in the case of common man who has no political clout. A nurse in a hospital in Telangana was suspended when a video showing her dancing to the tunes of a song while on duty went viral. But when a professor in JNTU, Kakinada, allegedly booked three rooms in her name in the university guest house, which were reportedly used for someone's honeymoon, the university simply constituted a committee to investigate the matter, saying action will be taken after the report.

There have been any number of cases where cases of sedition were filed across the country for criticising the Prime Minister or the Chief Ministers even on issues of handling Covid-19 situation and migrant labourers during the lockdown. But the government seems to be going slow when a dangerous statement was made by the People's Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti who expressed reservations in hoisting the tricolour.

Addressing the press for the first time in over 14 months since the abrogation of Article 370 and her subsequent detention, Mufti said she would hoist the tricolour only when the flag of J&K is returned to the state. Displaying the flag of J&K, she said, "Until we get our own flag back, we won't raise any other flag...This flag "forged" our relationship with that flag. Our relationship with the flag of this country is not independent of this flag (Jammu and Kashmir's flag)." Asking the Centre to draw a lesson from Afghanistan where the Taliban seized power and made the US flee, she sought a dialogue on J&K and restoration of the special status which was revoked in 2019. Referring to the Taliban seizing power in Afghanistan, the former CM warned the Centre not to test their patience and asked the government to mend its ways. It is certainly serious that such a statement came from a person who served as a CM. If it was made by anyone else, by now cases of sedition would have been slapped on them and the police would have acted in their own way. Mufti said, "The Government of India should return what it has snatched from us and address the Kashmir issue as per the wishes and aspirations of the people of J&K." She, however, subtly appealed to the youth not to pick up arms, saying the issue cannot be resolved with guns or stones. This reminds me of a dialogue from a popular Telugu film that had hit the screens in 1972. In 'Prajanayakudu,' the hero, the legendary Nagabhushanam, while addressing crowds, urges them not to throw stones at them, and people take cue and start pelting stones. Mehbooba's appeal sounded akin to his. Barring some statements condemning her utterances, the government took no other action. She perhaps forgot how the country stood by her family and released five terrorists in lieu of Rubaiya Sayeed, her sister, in 1999 when Indian Airlines flight was hijacked to Kandahar, despite strong opposition from the then CM, Farooq Abdullah, who later on many occasions said it was a grave mistake. At that time also, Afghanistan was under the rule of Taliban.

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