Delhi aflame

by February 26, 2020 0 comments

After peaceful protests, the violence over CAA shows how polarities have now been weaponised politically

An ominous situation has been allowed to develop yet again in the national capital, rendering it unsafe, giving an impression of a rage-filled India at a time when a presidential visit is under way. Delhi’s north-east is now the new battleground over the pros and cons of a new citizenship law and in just three days, more than 10 deaths have been reported, more than 100 have been injured and a reign of terror continues with incidents of stone-pelting, torching of vehicles and houses. Democratic dissent is allowed and Delhi has shown how to keep it peaceful despite sit-ins. The citizenship protesters, who began the stir over the imposed classification of identities, were consistent in their single-mindedness to effect a change in civic discourse. Their resilience is no doubt politically uncomfortable but has inflammatory potential, too, one that is being encashed by the politics of the day and being swiftly turned into a communal war. Claims and counter-claims have been made about the protests being manufactured but will the blame-game change anything on the ground or will it compel the Government to tamp down tension? One of the loudest messages from the Delhi Assembly elections, where the BJP suffered a severe jolt, was that Indian voters reward those leaders who shun divisive politics. But the steep loss hasn’t forced a rethink in the BJP, which is now encouraging rabble-rousers to go all out in defending the Citizenship Amendment Act  (CAA), which is pivoted on exclusion against the spirit of the Constitution, and though not in isolation, but in tandem with other profiling-based census, could legitimise the politics of otherisation. So there was Kapil Mishra, whose anti-CAA statements and videos did the rounds during the Delhi Assembly elections, egging on lumpens and encouraging hate rhetoric all over again. Such leaders have been so emboldened that they issued an ultimatum to the Delhi Police to clear the roads of anti-CAA protesters in the wake of Trump’s visit to India.

One expected the Delhi Police to recalibrate its approach in ensuring law and order but as has been the norm, it failed to restore calm. After a meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Union Home Minister Shah assured him of every help, since police comes under his Ministry, but didn’t do anything to rein in flagrant party cadres. With a huge mandate, Kejriwal should not bother about his administrative powers but must use the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP’s) mohalla networks to address people’s concerns. That’s what is needed exactly till, of course, the Supreme Court takes the final call on the CAA. One hopes the national mindset isn’t poisoned till then.

(Courtesy: The Pioneer)

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