Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi today accused the Narendra Modi-led central government of “forcing everyone into silence with Dalits being beaten up, minorities frightened and journalists and bureaucrats threatened. Speaking at a function of the National Herald newspaper here, he said, “The power of truth is being completely replaced with the truth of power and anybody who attempts to speak the truth and stand for it is being pushed aside.” Gandhi also alleged that thousands of journalists were not being allowed to write what they wanted to. “They (journalists) tell me that they are not being allowed to write what they want to,” he said. Recalling that he was not allowed to visit Madhya Pradesh during the recent farmers’ protest and Uttar Pradesh and was stopped at the border of both the states, he said, “This is the India we are living in…an India where power will simply manufacture the truth.” Recollecting a Soviet poet (Yevgeny Yevtushenko), who said, “When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie,” Gandhi said, “This is what the government is trying to do.” “…Everybody knows what the truth is. But they are scared to say it,” he said at the function where Vice- President Mohammad Hamid Ansari released the National Herald’s commemorative publication to celebrate 70 years of India’s independence. The Congress vice-president recalled that when the editor of National Herald approached him recently, he told him that there might be times when the paper would want to write things against him or his party or its policies, but “you (editor) should be absolutely comfortable. That is the spirit we expect from National Herald.” “National Herald has a strong spirit. It is not going to be silenced,” he added.
Congress leader Oscar Fernandes, who is on the Board of Directors of the newspaper, said the paper, which was founded by former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938 and the publication of which was suspended a few years ago, was in the process of reviving its Hindi and Urdu editions as a multi- media outlet. He said the National Herald website, launched eight months ago, was being upgraded and would be fully operational later this month. The function is being seen as a prelude to the launch of the daily National Herald English edition. Efforts to revive the newspaper started amid a legal battle launched by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who has filed a criminal complaint against Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others.
In his private criminal complaint, Swamy has accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying only Rs 50 lakh, through which Young Indian Pvt. Ltd (YI) obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore, which its publisher, Associate Journals Ltd (AJL), owed to the Congress party. The Gandhis and the other accused — Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda — have denied the allegations levelled against them.
The Delhi High Court had recently declined to stay the Income Tax proceedings against Young India Ltd in the National Herald case.