Rajya Sabha

July 19, 2017

Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien speaks during a Short Duration Discussion on crimes against the marginalised

Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien speaks during a Short Duration Discussion on crimes against the marginalised

1. Marginalised in Trouble

Sir, Moti Samadhiyala is the name of a village. Exactly one year ago many members of Parliament from different political parties visited this village. We from the Trinamool Congress also went there. Moti Samadhiyala is actually 10 km from town of Una, in Gir-Somnath district, Gujarat. This is where those seven Dalit boys met their fate.

Now, I don’t want to take up more than one example because thankfully so many of my colleagues before have given many examples. So, I will give one example and then I will get on to these issues.

Now around this time in July last year, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat had announced that there would be a fast-track court to examine what happened and reach the truth about these seven Dalit boys. My direct charge, through you, is why has that special court not been set up yet? This is one example. I can give you another 50 examples. But the point is about the words and action.

2.Ask the Right Questions

We are asking the questions…. we are asking the right questions. On June 29, 2017, the Prime Minister said, “Killing people in the name of ‘gau bhakti’ is not acceptable”. We all know what happened a few hours later in Jharkhand (another man was beaten to death in Ramgarh). But through you let me convey to the Prime Minister – empty words and generic comments won’t work. Please name the groups, name the individuals and name the organisations. Then we will take you seriously. Otherwise we are deeply suspicious.

Then let’s go to July 2. I have quote here, ‘There is no apprehension anywhere in the country’. This was said by the president of the BJP. When I last checked, he was the president of the BJP in India, so if I give him the benefit of doubt. May be he was referring to La La Land. But if this sentence I presume is referring to India; then he is living in his own world. Because he cannot say something like ‘There is no apprehension anywhere in the country’.

3.Cow Terrorism

Sir, I have problem with this term ‘cow vigilantism’. To be a cow vigilante, the person committing the damage has to be a criminal. In all the examples the Leader of the Opposition and everyone has given, they are not criminals.

So ‘cow vigilantism’ is a wrong term. The real term is ‘cow terrorism’ or ‘gau-atank’. This is ‘cow terrorism’. And I want to build on this argument because this is exactly what the BJP wants. They do not want to answer the real questions. Because once we come to the real question, they do not have the answer.

Let me give you an example: This morning, we asked a question: how many people have died due to lynchings. They passed it on to the States. Everything the States will have to answer. The problem is they are lighting the fire in the States, then they want us to use fire extinguisher to put out the fire.

4. Changing the narrative

Sir, what is the issue here? Let me explain to you. This morning there was a question on the savings on LPG cylinders. The answer given was Rs 25,000 crore. When you want to take the credit, then you take the credit, otherwise you blame the States. We looked at the figure Sir, it is not Rs 25,000 crore. It is a BJP special jumla. Rs 23,000 crore of that Rs 25,000 crore is because of the oil prices.

Sir, I know this is not an economic discussion. But I want to make these points because this is the narrative and everything else, Sir, is a distraction. The narrative today is that the marginalised are being killed, they are being lynched.

5. ‘Terrorism’ against the child

Let me move away from the minorities and Dalits to see how this Government is also engaged in terrorism against the child, Sir.

Seventy per cent of children below 5 years do not have Aadhaar cards as on November 15, 2016. Because they do not have Aadhaar, they are being denied mid-day meals. They have also linked Aadhaar with ICDS. These are the big questions, Sir. The other narrative will not work, Sir.

6.Digital terrorism

Sir, the BJP speaker used a very nice term. My Hindi is not very good but I wrote it down. “Khula hain jhoot ki bazaar”.  Kaun khula hain jhoot ki bazaar? They are the champions in it. We have a lot of love and respect for Facebook; they have turned Facebook into Fakebook. They have made it into an art form.

How do they do it Sir?

Step 1: Get someone to put up a provocative (often morphed) picture on Facebook

Step 2: Amplify the rumour-mongering through digital media and word-of-mouth

Step 3: Spread propaganda through mouthpieces masquerading as news channels and independent journalists

Step 4: Get party politicians to jump in and validate the digital dirt as if it were really happening.


Let me share a recent example from Basirhat (Baduria). They spread pictures showing communal disharmony from Comilla in Bangladesh. And now they have become even more creative. This is serious – good creativity but it is very bad for communal harmony. Another picture was a shot taken from a Bhojpuri film and it was put up by the BJP followers. Sir, this is not only done by followers, but BJP leaders also.

We all know that a social media is a free place it is an expressive place but this is not the way to use it, Sir. Post card news, for those of you who follow this, is a BJP-RSS run website. They have also taken the option. So, why I am mentioning this? Because these are all related to small incidents and they amplify these incidents.

7. TV terrorism

Sir, we are discussing about the marginalised, and the pain, the lynching, and the suffering they are going through. But, what is even more scary is even those whose are not so marginalised are being attacked by them. I believe they are indulging in ‘TV terrorism’. I believe they are indulging in ‘press terrorism’. You either become a mouthpiece or… There are a few good journalists who are still trying to speak the truth. Most of the TV channels, I do not want to name them, and half a dozen newspapers. We know the kind of pressure they are in. These are not marginalised, these are powerful media houses.

8. Political terrorism

Sir, it doesn’t stop there. This is a lynching of a different kind; targeting political parties. If you do not agree with them, they will come after you – we have seen this for National Herald, the Chidambaram case, Narada. They will send the CBI, then the ED. This will not stop us, because these Opposition parties will not bow down to political terrorism. We will not bow down to your political vendetta.

9.Financial terrorism

Let them answer for the financial terrorism they have indulged in. When Dr Manmohan Singh stood up here and said GDP will be down by 2 per cent, everyone made a noise. When my colleague, Dr Amit Mitra said in Kolkata that after demonetisation the GDP growth will witness a 2 per cent drop, everyone thought it was wrong. But look at the numbers. The GDP growth is down by 1.9 per cent. We want answers to these questions. Do not destroy the narrative. Give us answers to these questions. I make a charge against this Government that they are manipulating WPI, CPI data to make the numbers look good. Let the Finance Minister come and explain the numbers. The game here is that you manipulate the denominators.

10. Tax terrorism

The question here is, it is going beyond financial terrorism. There is tax terrorism. This is regarding the GST. Who are they to lecture on GST? For seven years they stalled GST. Now they are having midnight reality TV and showing the country how they are for GST. Trinamool was for GST for the last 11 years.

Let us think economically. You’ve killed the leather industry in Bengal, you’ve killed the textile industry. Then there is the ‘arrest clause’. There are many other examples.

Sir, ‘cow’ is a three-letter word. There is another three-letter word which I want to dwell on today. The second letter of this word is also an ‘o’. It is ‘job’.  


These are the numbers:


  • 25 crore daily wage workers lost employment.
  • 35% of jobs lost in MSME sector and 50% dip in revenue
  • Leather industry in West Bengal collapsed.
  • Auto sales at 16 year low.
  • 40% drop in FMCG sales.
  • Second hand car sales became zero.
  • Closure of 12 lakh powerlooms in Maharashtra.
  • Unprecedented reverse migration as unemployed workers returned to their villages.
  • 1.5 million jobs were lost in the first four months of the year (January-April 2017)


Sir, these are the hard numbers. The reality show at midnight will not work. The country wants answers to these numbers. We were all for GST, but we were not in favour of this rushed GST.

There is another issue, and it is bothering me. The BJP and its ministers say one thing, the Prime Minister says one thing. At least the BJP president is consistent – he says one thing and then….

Let me tell you one thing: you are welcome to come to Bengal and I will show you and give you a class on development and communal harmony; polarization will never happen in Bengal.

After GST the prices of the medicines have gone up. Now that I have the attention of the Minister,  I also want him to examine and explore the concept of giving free medicine to the underprivileged, to the poor, to the underserved which we are doing with a great success in Bengal. It is a good model to follow, so think about it.

11. What is the mandate for?

Yesterday, when Behen Mayawati Ji was here, they very arrogantly said, “We have a mandate”. What do you have a Mandate for? Do you have a mandate to do what you’re doing to children (not giving them their food because of their Aadhaar card). Do you have a mandate to indulge in political vendetta and terrorism and turn Facebook into Fakebook? Who has given you a mandate to indulge in tax terrorism through GST which is hurting farmers. Who has given you a mandate to take away my privacy? The minister of IT in the last session assured this House that information given on Aadhaar card is private. Those details – my health details, my personal details – are available today. Yes, you have a Mandate and that works within a framework.

12. Growing Stronger Together

In this great nation of ours – we are 25-27 days away from the 70th anniversary of our Independence – I thought of a story which I read in school. It was a simple story which most of us have probably heard but to me that was a great example from 300 years ago. When Guru Gobind Singh was trying to escape and he had to disguise himself, he was helped by two men – Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan. They disguised him as a Muslim Pir. That’s how Guru Gobind Singh escaped. If Nabi khan and Ghani Khan got caught, then they would have been in trouble.

No matter how many attempts are made by this BJP Government to change this country, Sir, we will not allow it. Because, I have grown up in Calcutta, in a Hindu majority locality, named after a Muslim – it is called ‘Jamir Lane’ – we were a Christian family. Let no one ever try to destroy this, Sir. Marginalised, not marginalised, no body must destroy this.

And we, the Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Di, appeal to all the Opposition parties here. Mr Yechury spoke before me, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke, the Samajwadi Party spoke, the BSP spoke. We will get together, Sir, to GST – Growing Strong Together.


Thank You.