Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi cannot be faulted for asserting that "the Prime Minister of India does not deal with what every police constable does". The two jobs — that of the Prime Minister and a police constable — are not comparable by any stretch of the imagination, nor are the responsibilities vested in either similar in nature. What Mr Singhvi has iterated is a truism that would be questioned by only the intellectually challenged and hence need not have been stated in the first place, unless, of course, like many others in the Congress he believes that the people of India lack rudimentary intelligence. Such smug arrogance and self-righteousness, however, do not serve to hide a simple fact: Mr Singhvi, like his colleague who had the gall to suggest that questioning Rajiv Gandhi's role in la affaire Warren Anderson, the chairman of Union Carbide Corporation when the world's worst industrial disaster occurred at the firm's pesticides factory in Bhopal, is tantamount to being "unpatriotic", is desperate to prevent the truth about the unseemly episode from becoming common knowledge. This could be either because as a loyal foot soldier of the party he feels it is his bounden duty to save the Congress's first family from public scrutiny and rebuke, or the reason Warren Anderson was assured and given safe passage 26 years ago — American pressure — is as valid today as it was then. It would not be entirely incorrect to suggest Mr Singhvi, who said what he did while denouncing former Foreign Secretary MK Rasgotra for disclosing that Rajiv Gandhi was informed about the assurance given to the American Embassy that Warren Anderson would not be harassed or arrested during his visit to India and had approved of the decision, was being a loyal Congress worker as well as mindful of not compromising American interests, more specifically the interests of multinational corporations.
Yet, all this skulduggery and crude subterfuge is so unnecessary. Let us presume, and there is sufficient evidence to do so, that Rajiv Gandhi knew and approved of the decision to give safe passage to Warren Anderson (of which police constables would definitely not have been aware) because of which he was never brought to trial for a horrendous crime. Would it not make eminent sense for the Government — and the Congress — to admit this upfront? Those in denial mode could have instead said: At that point of time this seemed the right decision; in retrospect it turned out to be an error of judgement. This would have been both graceful and helpful in bringing about a closure to the Bhopal tragedy which the survivors, more than anybody else, deserve to get on with their lives. It would also be the starting point for looking afresh at what more could be done to alleviate the sufferings of those who lived through that night of horror, try to ensure the guilty are brought to book, and such disasters do not occur ever again. Instead, we have the Congress spinning a web of deceit and churning out lies; this honours neither the memory of their departed leader whom they seek to protect nor the memories of the thousands who perished on the night of December 2-3, 1984. More importantly, it inflicts enormous damage on the nation: The world cannot be expected to respect a country, irrespective of its GDP, whose Government is dominated by a party which has no respect for the truth, that too when it involves the lives of its own citizens.