Noted political economist Parakala Prabhakar on Saturday sounded a warning to Kerala saying what is happening today in Manipur can happen in the southern state also, the online news portal Onmanorama reported. He made the warning as he delivered the S Rameshan Memorial Lecture in Kochi on 27 January.
Onmanorama is the online English news portal of Malayala Manorama group, which publishes the Malayala Manorama newspaper read by over 20 million Malayalis across the world.
Prabhakar repeated his harsh criticism of the BJP government at the Centre where his wife Nirmala Sitharaman is the finance minister. Referring to the communal violence in Manipur, Prabhakar said, “If we don’t stop this, what happens in Manipur today can happen anywhere.”
“Please don’t be under the impression that anything can happen anywhere, but not in Kerala.”
Pointing out the absence of Muslim ministers in the Narendra Modi-led BJP government and the saffron party’s refusal to field candidates from the minority community in elections, Prabhakar said “they (BJP) have made it clear that minorities in the country are not needed.”
“Today the attacks are happening against Muslims. Tomorrow it can be against Christians, and then Jains. If we are not vigilant, it can happen in Kerala also,” he said.
Prabhakar, the author of “The Crooked Timber of New India: Essays on a republic in crisis” slammed the Modi government saying it has ruined the economy, democracy and secularism. He repeated his criticism that poverty, unemployment and national debt were mounting while the ruling dispensation was in denial mode.
“The national debt since 1947 till 2014 was Rs 50 lakh crore. In the past nine years it has risen to 150 lakh crore. Unemployment also is increasing. This is the kind of crisis we have today. For the first time since 1990, 30 crore people have fallen back into poverty. The government, however, claims it has lifted 23 crore people out of poverty. The World Hunger Index has ranked India way below and the government says it’s false and they are anti-India. Anybody who speaks reality is anti-India,” he said.
Prabhakar questioned the logic behind announcing free ration for five years if the government’s claim about poverty alleviation was right. “Today you cannot believe anything the government says because the data given by them are not believable. They are changing everything (parameter). Earlier, one km of a four-lane road was measured as one km, today it’s four km. So that the government can claim they are doing so much (road works). If you ask anything to the government, you get either such lies or you don’t get anything,” he said.
“Without proper information democracy cannot function. Democracy means government by discussions, expression of disagreements, explanations and being accountable. If anybody questioning the government is suspended or jailed then it’s not democracy,” he added.
He called for what he termed an army of secularism to remain peaceful. “For communalism there is an army of people working day in and out. Can you say there’s an army for secularism? If there’s one, I can sleep peacefully tonight. If there’s not, none of us can sleep peacefully,” he said.