Why is there little outrage over scandalous events at home?

While the Prime Minister tweeted his outrage at the insurrection at Capitol Hill, he has been silent on the Badaun rape of a 50-year-old woman in a temple. Nor have NCW or UP CM been quite perturbed

Photo Courtesy: Twitter/ @churumuri
Photo Courtesy: Twitter/ @churumuri

Ranjona Banerji

A bunch of violent hate-spewing, right wing thugs infiltrated the American temple of democracy, Capitol Hill, on January 6, incited by the President of the United States. There was worldwide condemnation. And condemnation within the president’s own Republican Party. Even from Donald Trump’s friends and staunch allies who supported him through all his attempts to subvert democracy and destroy the USA in his four years as president.

Why, even our own prime minister, Narendra Modi, was quick to denounce the violence and dump his former friend. A friend for whom Modi had campaigned in the US and to impress whom he had spent public money and risked other people’s lives at the start of the Covid 19 pandemic at a massive event in Gujarat last year.

Of course, once you get over the schadenfreude, the shock, the glee and so on, let’s take a look at our own backyard. Last Sunday, a woman, 50, was gangraped, brutalised and murdered by a temple priest and his associated. In a temple. In Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. How shocked were we? How about the Prime Minister, the UP Chief Minister, people of Badaun who frequented the temple? Four days after the event the absconding temple priest was found hiding in the home of a “follower”.

A member of the National Commission for Women, Chandramukhi Devi, was quick to blame the woman for getting gangraped and murdered in a temple where she was a regular: She should not have gone out in the evening. Ms Devi has been an MLA in the Bihar Assembly and long involved in “women’s issues”. She fought on a BJP ticket.

And this is how you enable thugs and hooligans who eventually threaten life and democracy.

If rape distresses you, how do you feel about ruling party members openly inciting people to violence, like the BJP’s Kapil Mishra, during the peaceful citizenship protests in December 2019 and early 2020? He gets feted by the party and no one does anything. Instead, in proper Indian tradition, all dissenters, comedians and so on get arrested for sedition as they have been consistently since 2014, outdoing all other such arrests by previous governments. Should we even mention Kapil Gujjar, who opened fire at the Shaheen Bagh protests and was recently inducted into the BJP as a reward? He was dropped because of outrage, with the BJP pretending they didn’t know who Gujjar was. Smoke and mirrors.

Because that is how you enable thugs and hooligans.

We could venture a little further back into history to 2018. We could try and remember how the then Union minister Jayant Sinha garlanded and welcomed eight men released on bail after they were arrested for publicly lynching Alimmudin Ansari on suspicion of “cow slaughter”.

And that is how you openly applaud mob violence and terrorism in the name of the cow, in order to polarise society and win elections.

How many farmers have died on the outskirts of Delhi, in the freezing cold, as they protest peacefully against the Modi government’s farm acts? At last count, 60. The dear prime minister has felt no remorse or pain or shame. He carries on with his publicity routines while pretending to work. Seven rounds of talks have failed because the government wants them to fail. Farmers have been beaten, teargassed, water-cannoned, stopped from entering the national capital. Public roads have been dug up by the government to stop their progress. And the farmers have been called terrorists, anarchists, anti-national and worse.

O dear. Not one tweet from our prolific tweeting PM. The 56-inch strongman who does not have the courage to face India’s farmers. He is helped immeasurably by a pusillanimous media, the bulk of which has been unable to cover the farmers’ protests with any semblance of professionalism. And has largely repeated the right wing line that farmers are terrorists.

And that is how, by insinuation and denial, you empower and enable right wing mobs made up of hooligans.

Every day, we watch democracy cracking in India. We have no cause for glee or shock at what’s happened in America. Once again, their institutions stood up, even when they looked at their lowest.

Can one assume that Modi and the BJP are actually shocked at the inefficiency of Trump’s methods? That having perfected one way to destroy India, they cannot believe that America can actually still hang on?

Even if that is conjecture, we know that in India, the enablement and empowerment of violent mobs is far more effective and long lasting.

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