The brazen shamelessness of the dispensation in power at the Centre is not just apparent from the serial statements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and several other Cabinet ministers contradicting one another on the divisive Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the diabolical NPR-NRC process.
When there are waves of protest across the length and breadth of the country against the first serious attempt to turn India into a Hindu majoritarian State, Modi, Shah and, notably, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath are still talking the language of violence when it comes to dealing with the protesters.
When there are daily protests by students and common citizens in numerous cities and towns, maximum violence by policemen on protesters has been witnessed in UP. Nineteen of the total 26 deaths in the country in anti-CAA protests have taken place in UP alone. The state also has seen the maximum number of arrests at 1,113.
There have been 5,558 preventive detentions. The police have reportedly barged inside houses of people, broken down doors, smashed belongings, looted cash and jewellery and thrashed the elderly, the minor and even the handicapped people. The extent of police barbarity has been unprecedented.
But one does not have to look too far to see the actual reason behind this. When the anti-CAA protests started, the UP Chief Minister vowed to take revenge on the protesters. While it is bizarre for a statesman governing a state to use such language for the governed, the UP Police did not, however, miss the dog whistle. That’s why the Bijnor SP could openly give a call to the cops to break the limbs of protesters to make an example out of them.
This is unparalleled in the history of a modern democracy. The Modi-Shah combine and the RSS-BJP duo are fast sucking India into a pre-medieval dark era where every difference, be it religious, caste-based, gender-centred, etc, is celebrated and every strand of unity broken down, where conformity is the only way and dissent is quashed.
Otherwise, when every rights organisation, activist and sensible person is critiquing the disproportionate police actions in UP, why would Modi stand firmly in support of the cops and instead castigate the protesters for destroying public property?
The other day, he said it was the Congress and ‘Urban Naxals’ who were engaging in violent protests. Shah also sang a similar tune in Delhi, saying the ‘Tukde Tukde Gang’ of Congress was engaged in violent demonstrations and that they ought to be punished.
It is also interesting that the worst violence has taken place in BJP-ruled states or where the police is under the Union Home Ministry.
While the Ramlila Maidan announcement of Modi and the subsequent climbdown by Shah were clear indicators that the government was on a backfoot, the two statements mentioned above, one in Lucknow by the PM and one in Delhi by the Union Home Minister, suggest that a further plan to clamp down on protests may have been activated.
But Modi-Shah and RSS-BJP would be wrong to count on the might of security forces to back their agenda of dividing and destroying India. The people of India would rise up and thwart those nefarious plans.