“200 to 300 people should be deployed. Buses should be destroyed at Shivajinagar bus stand and Swargate bus stand. Destroy five State transport buses. That way traffic will be disturbed. Block the Mumbai Pune express way. Put two buses and two trucks on fire. In Shivajinagar, select a bus, burn it and make sure the media knows about it. But none of this should look orchestrated.”
In common with previous more publicised phone leaks, this does not qualitatively change what is generally known about the people involved, but does give a clearer picture of the callous attitude of our politicians towards public property and public welfare.
It's fairly obvious that the phone conversation was captured and leaked at the behest of the Nationalist Congress Party, which in terms of public behaviour often acts as Shiv Sena's alter ego (their friends the Sambhaji Brigade famously ransacked the Oriental Institute in Pune in 2004 and destroyed priceless manuscripts). The tussle between the Sena and the NCP, hard to follow in its minute details for anyone not clued in to Maharashtrian caste politics, has to do with the relative importance given to Brahmins and Marathas. It's perfectly possible that were the equations reversed and the Sena in power, the NCP or its friends would orchestrate the very same kind of activity described in the quote above. They would however be much more careful about getting caught -- the NCP head Sharad Pawar is a national leader of considerable clout, way ahead of his rivals in the Sena leadership.
What always baffles me is that politicians are able to get away labelling others "anti-national". What could be more anti-national than plotting the deliberate destruction of public property, inevitably involving the lives of citizens as collateral damage? What, after all, do terrorists do?
On the other side we have Dr Binayak Sen, not accused of having harmed a fly (and widely known to have treated huge numbers of tribals in need of medical aid) sentenced to life imprisonment for carrying letters. While I'm pretty sure a higher court will reduce or eliminate the harsh penalty on Dr Sen, I'm not so sure any court will impose any significant deterrent on the anti-national bus-burners.