Politicians, Our Servants or Masters!

In India we choose our leaders to represent us in national parliament, state assemblies and local governments. Our leaders, we thought, are expected to fight for our cause and protect our interest. Increasingly, our political parties have become familiy enterprises. Politicians try to look after their own first by giving election ticket to their kith and kin. Those relatives that cannot be elected, get nominated to posts that control flow of funds. Our leaders and their family treat government resources as their own. Some take family members to foreign junket along with official tour. Many avail first class and business class ticket in government run airlines. Many do not allow an aircraft to wait for our leaders to arrive and board. Government run ventures are increasingly being misused by elected representatives and their non elected family members, such that many ventures have become non viable commercially.

One instance of such flagrant violation of authority and power came to light when an elected member of parliament (MP) from Shiv Sena beat up a senior functionary of Air India with his sandal. The MP far from being repentant, bragged that he had hit the employee 25 times and he was going to push the officer down from the aircraft. The event was caught on camera. Many TV channels had run the footage. 

Exact cause that agitated the honourable member of parliament is not known. It is rumoured that the MP was angry that he did not get a business class ticket. Which was an entitlement for our elected representatives. The facts, however, were 

  •  the flight was an all economy flight.
  • MP was seated in the front row with a lot of leg room.
  • According to airline, MPs office was informed two days in advance, that the flight will not have any business class section.
  • MP decided to avail the flight, he refused to get down after arriving at the destination.

An air hostess of Air India has said that Mr. Gaikwad was courteous with the staff. But he refused to get off the plane without seeing an appropriate authority. MP demanded to see CMD of the airline while being seated on the aircraft. He felt it was below his dignity to talk to station manager of the airline. Meanwhile, airline officials were in a difficult situation. They had paying passengers waiting to board. If aircraft does not get ready and flyout on time, it may have to pay penalty as well as it risks its reputation for being not on time. It is possible under this all round pressure arguments may be ensued. 

 Mr. Gaikwad may have other issues that is why he reacted the way he did. May be he felt neglected, aggrieved and insulted. Which most of us ordinary citizens feel, when we try to access our entitlements from government. Yet, Mr. Gaikwad had many options available to him:

  • He could have lodged a complaint with the civil aviation minister, whom he probably meets every day;
  • MP could have raised a question in parliament;
  • MP could have asked CMD of the airline to meet his at his office at an appropriate time;

It is beyond understanding, why did an elected member of parliament resort to violence and beat up an officer of government and attempt to push the employee? Officer was only performing his duty as assigned to him, that is to see the plane takes off at the right time with paid customers. 

This incidence says a lot about Shiv Sena as a political party and its MP Mr. Ravindra Gaekwad. As a political party, Shiv Sena is not averse to violence. It pretends to protect rights of Maharashtra people. They beat up people from other states that come to Mumbai in search of jobs. Mr Gaekwad is an example of such leader of Shiv Sena, who is not hesitant to take violent policy of his party outside his state. Mr. Gaekwad is a professor. I wonder what does he teach to his students! 


Assembly Election, Yogi Adityanath

After massive electoral victory in UP, selection of Yogi Adityanath has raised many uncomfortable questions. Based on past political activity and utterances, Yogi ji has an image of hardline right wing person. He has many utterances that are highly inflammatory, demeaning and derogatory to members of minority communities like muslims, christian, women and lesbian, gay and transgendersvideo has surfaced where in the presence of Yogi Adityanath highly xenophobic and misogynist statements are being made against muslims. 

Many, including opinion makers and commentators, have claimed induction of Yogi Adityanath as chief minister of UP is a regressive decision. Yet, we tend to forget that Yogi Adityanath has been elected from his constituency of Gorakhpur for five consecutive five year terms. Gorakhpur has a large muslim population. Gorakhpur has not seen many communal riots. Many members of minority community work in temple premises and get treatment in hospital run by society whose head is Swami Adityanath. In the market around Gorakhnath temple, many shops are rented by muslims. Consequently, if anti minority bias of Swami Adityanath if that strident, it did not reflect on statements of people from muslim community that interact with him on a daily basis. 

Important question that arises is now that Yogi Adityanath is chief minister of UP, a vast and diverse state, can Yogi Adityanath pursue an agenda of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas“? It is one thing to work in the environment of Gorakhpur, where Yogi Ji was the final authority. It is another thing to run a state where there are many stakeholders and where there will be much complex situations emerging and extreme provocations. Will Yogi Adityanath be able to deliver development to all segments of society? 

May be he will. Many consider, Yogi ji to be a no nonsense, upright man. He has no relation that can loot government coffer for their personal benefit. Many had considered Prime Minister Modi to be a strident anti-muslim voice. But weight of crown has tempered his instincts. As a prime minister, Mr. Modi has concentrated most of his energy on development of India. Will Yogi Adityanath change upon becoming chief minister? Many hope and pray, he will for the sake of massive electoral verdict, for the sake of people of UP and India and for electoral fortune of BJP. 

Yet strongest test for Yogi Adityanath will arise on issues related to religious sentiments? Now that Ram Janambhoomi – Babri Masjid issue has emerged again, in the event of an adverse supreme court verdict what and how will chief minister Yogi Adityanath react? Will he be a hindu devotee or chief minister of a state? Will he let police work in an unbiased manner and control mobs from hindu and muslim communities with equal energy? That will be the real test for BJP, Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath. Let us hope and pray all works out as per plan. 

It is important to note that predecessors of Yogi Adityanath, had not covered themselves in glory while handling the issue. So, it may not be fair to weigh down our new chief minister with weight of our expectation, wish and desire. As advised by Mr. Swapan Dasgupta, let us judge chief minister Yogi Adityanath on his performance and not on his past history.

UP Assembly Election, An Idea That Worked

Result of UP assembly election has made both sympathisers and detractors of prime minister Modi by surprise. Not many had imagined such a stellar performance where an alliance bagged 325 out of 404 seats. Exit polls, barring a few outliers, had pointed out that BJP may race ahead in the triangular contest for the UP throne. Generalised anticipation was that BJP alliance was unlikely to get enough numbers to form government on its own. Given the uncertainty associated with exit poll predictions, many had Akhilesh Yadav by forming a strategic alliance with congress party may race ahead or give BJP alliance enough competition to prevent them from capturing Lucknow. 

During the long drawn out election that lasted close to a month, there were many experts that had predicted dooms day scenario for BJP. Many had anticipated that BJP would be punished for its demonetisation move. According to critics, demonetisation of high value currency notes had lead to wide spread inconvenience and job loss, more so among poor and marginalised sections of society. It was said that Jats of western UP had deserted BJP. It was said that muslim voters would vote for either SP – congress or for BSP. Given, minorities constitute nearly 20% of UP population, they may form a decisive factor for any party getting their support. Many had said, BJP had given a subliminal message of communal polarisation that had shifted the vote in their favour. Many had even claimed, BJP to be nerveous that is why prime minister himself had spent three full days campaigning in Varanasi, his constituency. 

I think, opposition and media have not read and/or understood Modi correctly. Many do not read Modi’s message and action where he claims not to discriminate based on religion and caste. From the time of his chief minister days in Gujarat, he had refused to identify people based on religion. He said I look at people as Indian – rich or poor, farmer or industrialist etc. More over, many of the programs started by Mr. Modi are identity neutral. For example, as explained by Mr. M J Akbar, “swacch bharat”, “beti padahao beti bachao”, “cooking gas scheme called Ujjwala jojana”, “building toilets”, “transferring money to the account of poor and expecting mothers”, creating “zero balance jandhan account”, and giving “collateral free loan from mudra yojana” etc. are caste and religion neutral. 

It is a frequent point of discussion that BJP is a party that did not field a single muslim in 404 seats it contested as an alliance. Can a party govern by ignoring nearly 20% of a states population? To be fair, it is important to accept that BJP has less number of muslims. Many muslims do not trust BJP. Past track record of BJP, utterances of many front line leaders against muslims may be responsible for such predicament. As a result, BJP may not have access to many muslim candidates that can win an election for the party. An election is fought to be won. If a candidate is fielded and election is lost, then no one benefits. BJP definitely has to earn trust of Muslim masses by working and delivering in an unbiased manner. Yet massive number of seats that BJP had won in UP assembly elections, even from muslim dominated areas, may suggest muslims may have voted for the party. At this time there is no data available to support this view. There is report, however, that muslim women may have felt empowered by stand BJP had taken because on issues, like triple talaq, that relates to muslim women.

It can also be argued that BJP had played its caste card better than Mayawati / BSP. Unlike Yadav’s of SP and Jatav dalits of BSP, BJP has given voice to many communities that consitute a sizable populaiton yet there was no one to give them a representation in power structure. BJP has done that. I think that is what electoral democracy is all about. About opposition parties, removal of Rahul Gandhi may or may not be the solution. Opposition has to find an idea that India can relate to. SImply calling Modi fascist, BJP communal may not work.

Overall, it appears that Mr. Modi has changed the narrative of election from caste and religion based consolidation. It feels so good when a idea propagated by Modi – Shah strategy appears to be working.  So far, a majority of people all over India seem to believe that Mr. Modi has good intention for the country. Many governments earlier had projected themselves to be secular, yet many were plagued by corruption, nepotism and stumbled on delivery. If Mr. Modi can ensure delivery of governance to the last  Indian standing without bias, then he will have succeeded.

1. http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-edit-page/modis-stone-soup-formula-for-success-he-channelled-the-search-for-votes-into-a-productive-endeavour/

2. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/assembly-elections-2017-narendra-modi-2014-elections-demonetisation-bjp-4565809/

3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/03/17/narendra-modis-rise-and-the-failure-of-liberal-politics-in-india/?utm_term=.0a7a5456d676

4. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/what-did-pm-narendra-modi-really-say-in-his-victory-speech/articleshow/57612782.cms

Assembly Elections and Sore Losers

As results of assembly election started coming out of electronic voting machines on 11th of Mar, 2017, there was a stunned silence in Television studios full of experts. Several exit poll results two nights before had predicted an outright victory for BJP or at least BJP will be ahead of others. Given the unpredictability of exit poll results, many had hoped that a strategic alliance between congress and Samajwadi Party (SP) might capture enough seats to either form government on its own or to cobble up a post poll alliance with Ms. Mayawati of Bahaman Samaj Party (BSP). So much so, chief of SP had given an interview to BBC Hindi news channel that he was not averse to seeking support from Ms. Mayawati’s party. Actual results when emerged, it appeared that out of 404 assembly seats contested, BJP has captured 325 seats, SP 56, BSP 19 seats. 

Winning and losing are part of democracy. One party is voted out and another one takes its place. Trick is how one accepts defeat. As it became clear that BSP had been decimated in the election, BSP chief came out and claimed electoral fraud. Ms Mayawati announced electronic voting machines (EVMs) were tampered with. Votes meant of BSP went to BJP. Mr. Akhilesh Yadav was gracious enough to congratulate the winners. Yet, Mr. Akhilesh Yadav accused, albeit indirectly, voters of rejecting his development plan. Mr Yadav commented “may be voters wanted Bullet Train (of his opponent), over the Lucknow to Agra expressway that he had got made“. In short, Mr. Yadav doubted sagacity of voters in making the choice they made. More recently, in a post election legislature party meeting, called to discuss election result, the discussion point was about moving away from EVM to paper ballots. Mr. Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was also not far behind. AAP was believed to be a strong contender to take charge of Punjab. AAP, however, came distant second to congress, barely above SAD-BJP alliance. After losing Punjab Mr. Kejriwal claimed votes meant for his party has been transferred to SAD – BJP alliance. Mr. Kejriwal demanded use of ballot paper for Delhi Municipal election. Moreover, 

Apart from coming out as sore losers, our political parties are making an effort to take India backwards by more than twenty years. After a long time, India has moved from paper ballot to electronic system. Earlier, it used to take days to count paper ballots, now outcome of an election can be known in three hours. 

Unlike electronic voting machines used in other countries, example of which is often quoted, Indian EVMs are standalone machines and are tamper proof. So the question of manipulating the machine is very remote. More than 150,000 EVMs were used in Uttar Pradesh, around 40,000 in Punjab and 11,000 in Uttarakhand.  To tinker manually each machine is an enormous task. Tampering at such a scale cannot happen without the involvement of thousands of poll personnel.

Apart from technical points, administratively voting machines stay in the custody of state governments. If ruling party in a state is losing, then there is very little chance the machine has been tampered with. If SAD – BJP alliance had taken vote away from AAP in Punjab, why not take the entire vote share and become principal opposition or even form government? Besides, paper ballots are as much amenable to fraud when stamped ballots are stuffed in boxes after capturing a booth by muscle men.

I think our political parties should think why voters have rejected them. Instead of blaming EVM, our politicians must recognise that they have been outmanuevered by a party with better idea, better organisational strength and better touch with voters. 

Assembly Election, Exit Poll and Expert Opinion

As exit poll results indicated BJP was ahead in many states, Mr. Kamal Mitra Chenoy, – an academic, a sympathiser of AAP, and an activist, lamented in an article how mainstream media was not talking about AAP. How media was sucking up to seat of power that is BJP lead government at the centre. According to Mr. Chenoy, there was no chance of BJP forming government in UP. More so after demonetisation move that had devastated poor of UP, after an alliance between SP and congress party that is likely to galvanize minority and Yadav votes, after communal polarisation of the environment, add to this internal squabble within NDA. In nutshell, the following result was predicted by Mr. Chenoy:

  •  Goa will be lost by the BJP;
  • Punjab in which the BJP will trail the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress;
  • A SP-Congress government, or less likely a BJP-BSP government in UP.
  • Manipur is likely to be dominated by the regional parties to the continued detriment of the BJP.
  • Uttarakhand will be hard fought between the Congress and the BJP.

A day later, when election results were declared the results looked like this :
  • UP and Uttarakhand were swept by BJP;
  • BJP was forming governments in Goa and Manipur;
  • Punjab was won by congress. Difference between AAP and SAD – BJP was very less, despite ten year of anti-incumbency of SAD – BJP.

I do not know what Mr. Chenoy learnt during his stay in Goa. May be he was smoking something exotic, Goa is a good place for such activity. It appears neither demonitisation, nor grand alliance between SP and Congress had any effect on Modi lead BJP machine. Mr. Chenoy can echo Ms. Mayawati’s charge that election were fraudulent because EVM’s were tampered with. Mr. Chenoy can resort to argument that BJP had played caste card, BJP had not gave representation to muslims etc. But a victory of the magnitude seen in UP, 324 out of 400 seats, cannot happen without muslims supporting BJP despite not fielding any candidate from the community. I think when dust settles, it may appear muslim women had voted for the party for its cooking gas scheme, for its toilet scheme, for its effort to make people self reliant and of course for supporting women’s voice on triple talaq.

In the end, Mr. Chenoy must introspect about his own party and not worry too much about BJP. AAP did only marginally better than  SAD – BJP in Punjab. AAP did not open its account in Goa. It can always be said that this is not a bad performance for AAP, given it is only a three year old party.  Sanctimonious attitude of people like Mr. Chenoy, and arrogance of AAP spokes-people, that  heap ridicule on opposing parties, needs tempering before one can take the party seriously. 

Assembly Elections, Exit Polls and Alliances

As exit poll after exit poll results were declaring BJP led front was ahead in UP elections but there was great possibility of no single party would get majority. Several well wishers of secular forces advised Mr. Akhilesh Yadav to extend his hand of friendship to Ms. Mayawati, leader of BSP, to forge a post poll alliance. Mr. Akhilesh Yadav gave an interview to BBC Hindi news channel that to stop BJP on its tracks, he was not averse to seeking support of BSP. Ms. Mamata Banerjee of TMC, who had nothing to do with the UP assembly election, was also keen to facilitate an alliance between SP and BSP. 

Does such manoeuvring of political parties to form a  bond, indicate an open admission of political parties that they are unable to stop BJP even in state elections? A grand alliance of sort was formed between SP and Congress to garner muslim and Yadav votes. Many watchers of UP election had thought it to be a formidable alliance. Now talk of roping in BSP post election may suggest forming an alliance of muslim -Yadav – Dalit may indicate, as suggested by Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav, right balance of caste and religious identities may always trump development in any election. Yet, election results show that BJP had won 324 out of 400 seats without giving any preference to muslims or Yadavs or Jatav dalits. Is this a dawn of new era in UP politics?

Selective and Sanctimonius Outrage

Ever since BJP lead NDA government has come to power in Delhi, efforts have been made to show the government in poor light. Persistent efforts have been made to brand the government communal, intolerant and majoritarian. Definitely, intemperate and foolish utterances of elected members of ruling party members have played a role in the effort. Mindless lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq did not add to reputation and image of government. 

Yet, it cannot be denied that sustained efforts were made, and are still being made, to keep the pot boiling. Political party associated student unions proactively opposed administrative decisions of  government. Appointment of head of FTII, Pune, quelling of pro-azadi slogan shouting at JNU, derecognition of Ambedkar Perriyar Study Circle at IIT Chennai were protested with a lot of fan fare. An united opposition had attacked government for abetting suicide of Rohith Vemulla, a member of Ambedkar Student Union at University of Hyderabad. At the same time, when government did not interfere during recent violence at Ramjas College, government had been accused of inaction. 

Members of civil society were up in arms at killing of rationalists like Mr. Narendra Dabholkar, Mr. Govind Pansare and Mr. M M Kalburgi. Many noted authors returned their Sahitya Academy Award to government for not able to solve these murders. It is important to remember that these murders happened when states of Maharashtra and Karnataka were ruled by Congress party, and there was UPA government at the centre. 

Desecration of christian church happened in Delhi. An atmosphere was created to suggest that church premises were attacked under direct patronage of right of centre ruling party government. As dust settled, it turned out acts were instances of vandalism. Similarly, horrible rape of a christian missionary in West Bengal was attributed to right wing groups. Investigation revealed that act was committed by miscreants from a neighbouring country.

All opposition parties are united to embarrass the government on the floor of parliament as well as outside. Most vocal being congress party, left parties and Trina Mool Congress. Yet if we look at behavior of these parties, they do not come out to be any more tolerant to dissent when they occupy seat of power. Let us look at some of the incidents? :

Left parties and left leaning student union are most vocal about freedom of expression at university campuses. They had protested police action in JNU campus. Left leaning unions had protested and clashed with right wing ABVP students in Delhi University. Yet,
  • JNU students did not allow baba Ramdev to speak in their campus;
  • BJP member Ms. Shazia Ilmi was uninvited from a talk on Triple Talaq at Jamia Milia Islami University. The topic was considered sensitive for the community. Yet, students of Jamia Milia joined protest march to Save Delhi University;
  • A rupees 10 lac bounty was announced on head of Mr. Tarek Fateh by an Islamic Cleric for denouncing Islam. Yet, flag bearers of free speech, left leaning politicians and intellectuals, remained quiet.
  • Left is routinely fighting and killing RSS workers in Kerala. Probably, RSS and BJP workers do not need freedom of expression and do not deserve tolerance.
  • Left had fought with naxals in West Bengal in early seventies. Yet, they preach tolerance!
  • Ultra left, kill not only security personnel, they kill civilians as well if suspected on not following party line.
Mr. Derek O’Brien to Trina Mool Congress party is very vocal about free speech. Mr. O’Brien camped at Hyderabad University campus to express solidarity with family of Mr. Rohith Vemulla. Yet his leader Ms. Mamata Banerjee cannot escape charges of intolerance. Yet media does not accuse Ms. Banerjee and TMC of intolerance. Let us look at the incidences:

  • Mamata Banerjee called a student in Presidency University naxalite and walked out of the TV interview. The student had asked the chief minister about deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
  • A citizen in Mamata Banerjee’s rally at Jangal Mahal was arrested for asking question to the chief minister.
It appears in this game of oneup maintop between right and left, righteousness of right is as obnoxious as sanctimoniousness of left. I guess no party has right to preach what is right and what is wrong.

    Ramjas Violence : A Trap ABVP Fell Into

    A lot has been said about student violence at Ramjas College of the University of Delhi. News channels have shown footage of students beating up one another. Exact trigger for violence is not known. Most commentators and observers have blamed rightwing ABVP for initiating the violence. At the same time it is emerging that both sides might have played a role to greater or smaller extent. It has been argued that ABVP alone may not be blamed for all the violence in Delhi University campus? Alternate narratives are emerging about beginning of violence. A picture has surfaced showing  a SFI member assaulting another student. Female members of ABVP have reported physical harassment at the hand of members of opposing camp.

    The following are the key points, to which ABVP had reacted :

    • Literary society of Ramjas college had organised the seminar titled “Cultures of Protest”. In addition to Umar Khalid other prominent speakers included Arundhati Roy, Sanjay Kak and Bimol Akoijam
    • It is well known that Arundhati Roy is a sympathiser of ultra left. Ms. Roy had written about azadi for Kashmir. Mr. Sanjay Kak had also created films on naxalite movement and azadi for Kashmir. Mr. Bimol Akoijam advocates aspirations of tribal areas. 
    • These are also stated position of CPI Maoist organisation. Mr. Varvara Rao, a maoist idealogogue, had said “Only those princely states that were under Delhi till 1947 and those who agreed to join the Indian Union should be in India.” This, in effect advocates balkanisation of India.  
    • When the invitation to Umar Khalid was cancelled, a video  emerged, where students and  faculty members of Ramjas college were seen chanting azadi for Kashmir and Bastar. 

    As things unfolded, it became clear that ABVP had lost the plot and came out looking bad. AISA and SFI had played victimhood well and drawn a lot of sympathy. Mainstream media had a field day showing students being beaten up by alleged ABVP members. Couple this with perfectly timed release of video of Gurmehar Kaur claiming “Pakistan did not kill my father, war did“. Media had discussed extensively how Gurmehar Kaur had got threat of physical violence including rape. In an election season, strategy of aggravating ABVP had worked like a set piece and hit the bulls eye by smearing the ruling party at the centre. I think ABVP had to evolve a better strategy, preferably a non violent one, to counter azadi narrative of left. Otherwise, it may risk losing student support in near future.

    1www.outlookindia.com | Walking With The Comrades – Penn English
    2. Arundhati Roy – Kashmir is just the beginning , A New India is rising …

    Ramjas College Clash and Gurmehar Kaur’s Video

    Recently, right wing ABVP and left leaning AISA and SFI at Ramjas College of Delhi University. Two posts caught national attention. Both posts came from a young student of Lady Shri Ram College. The students name was Gurmehar Kaur. One post of Gurmehar was about futility of war. How war had killed her father and not attack by Pakistan. Second post was as a student of Delhi University, Gurmehar was not afraid of ABVP. Both posts became viral. They had reached front pages of every important news paper in the country. News anchors of every Television Channel that I watched, had interviewed Gurmehar Kaur on her post. Mostly about her position how “War had killed her father, and not Pakistan.” 

    We may agree or disagree with  Gurmehar Kaur’s position on war and peace between India and Pakistan. What remains very puzzling is how did Gurmehar’s post reached so many people at the right time. 

    • Not many people, outside her circle, knew of Gurmehar Kaur. Yet, Gurmehar was interviewed by Barkha Dutt of NDTV on May, 2016. A video of Gurmehar was made sometime around Indian surgical strike on terrorist camps across line of control. Yet the video surfaced at a time when ABVP and AISA members were clashing at Delhi university. 
    • For a video / post to go viral, in the manner Gurmehar’s post had become, some committed supporters / volunteers had to repeatedly share in social media and reach anchors of news channels. 
    • Gurmehar had worked with organization of Kavita Krishnan and John Dayal, that profess azadi for Kashmir. Was reason for video going viral coincided with seminar organised at Ramjas college where prominent speakers were invited who professed azadi for Kashmir?
    • Was Gurmehar coaxed into making her video? Because when Gurmehar decided not to take part in “Save DU” march, she had said “I have shown enough courage. The protest is not about me.”
    • Finally, is Gurmehar really apolitical, as she has tried to suggest in her second post? Why did she not ask for a violence free Delhi University? Why did she say I am not afraid of ABVP? It is emerging that both sides had committed acts of violence. A video has emerged where slogans of freedom for Kashmir and Bastar was chanted.
    It is really very unusual that a video from a relatively unknown person gets so much national coverage at a time of important state elections may point towards a preplanned agenda. Gurmehar was used as a pawn in the game plan. 

    It has been repeatedly suggested that one girls belief/post does not shake India. Concerted campaign in favour of a belief does. Gurmehar’s post went viral. Gurmehar worked with people who support freedom for Kashmir. At the same time, a left supported seminar was organised at Delhi university where prominent separatist voices were invited. This is too much of a coincidence.