Posted by Gokul K P
It’s only been a day after the police besieged and stormed the Jamia Millia University and Aligarh Muslim University to brutally attack students who were involved in mostly peaceful protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (now CAA). What the police had indulged (and still are indulging) in were acts of violence against the innocent and unarmed protestors, thereby going against the very basic responsibility they were entrusted with – protecting the defenseless and capturing the real criminals. Terming the attack on the students as state sponsored violence would never be an exaggeration, as the Delhi Police comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Home Affairs. To enter a university without the permission of the concerned authorities and on top of that unleash relentless violence on the students conveys everything about the shameful audacity with which the Home Minister is treating the issue.
To enter a university without the permission of the concerned authorities and on top of that unleash relentless violence on the students conveys everything about the shameful audacity with which the Home Minister is treating the issue.
The students in Jawaharlal Nehru University were quick to take their protest against CAA to ITO, in front of the Delhi Police Headquarters. By the end of the day, more institutes like IIT Bombay and Tata Institute of Social Sciences had also begun protesting. Apart from this, student communities from across the nation have continued to express solidarity with the Aligarh Muslim University and the Jamia Milia University.
The Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA, 2019 makes it easier for non-Muslim immigrants (Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians) from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, which are Muslim-majority nations, to gain citizenship in India. The lethal combination that is CAA-NRC will only wreak communal havoc across the country. It will gradually isolate and spread hatred against Muslims, turn indigenous communities of the North-East into minorities in their own lands, and drive us further towards a Hindutva nation governed by the principles of Manusmriti.
By using terms like ‘national security’, ‘development’ and ‘brotherhood’ to appease the apolitical demographic, the government is blatantly pushing its political agenda in order to reap electoral benefits in the future. By promoting divisive politics, the party is trying to destroy the social and religious fabric of the country along with its democratic principles. Opinionated individuals being branded as ‘anti-national’ and application of force and violence to suppress dissent are all part of this pattern. Slow, cautious steps are being taken irrespective of their constitutional validity to make sure that minorities are herded and dispensed at the whim of the ruling party. Factors like religious animosity, hate towards the marginalized and underprivileged, and difference in power dynamics have fueled the process even more.
Slow, cautious steps are being taken irrespective of their constitutional validity to make sure that minorities are herded and dispensed at the whim of the ruling party. Factors like religious animosity, hate towards the marginalized and underprivileged, and difference in power dynamics have fueled the process even more.
In the middle of all the noise, it is also disheartening to see how the protests from Assam, Tripura and other north-eastern states are being drowned. As much as we are inflamed by the violence in the national capital, it is equally important that we don’t forget the voices of the indigenous people in the North East, who have been involved in an even more serious struggle pertaining to their very identities and survival. There are many historical instances of indigenous people being overshadowed by voices from the mainland. Unlike the protests that happened in the universities in Delhi, their protests go beyond the boundaries of religion. So, the onus is on us to keep the fight going, and simultaneously make sure that their presence in the mainstream narrative never diminishes. The inclusion of Muslims alone can bring no respite to the issue. The CAA must be quashed, and that alone is the solution to this draconian Bill.
The credibility of media as the fourth pillar of democracy is sharply declining. No institution today is free from the influence of the people in power, who act in vested interests and in favor of cronies. In such a scenario where fear-mongering fake news dominate any nation-wide political rhetoric, we have to find ways to keep debates and dissent alive. Mass agitations and organized movements, especially student protests are the only effective antidotes to the poison that has penetrated deep into the heart of our nation.
Resisting ideologies like the ones that threaten communal harmony today, which have been built and strengthened over the course of decades, require strong political awareness among the citizens and an understanding of the long-term priorities of the government in power. To all those who are skeptical about all that has been said above – look back at the history of violence against non-Aryans by the Nazis; the resemblance is indeed uncanny.
Please remember, the language of hostility is just a beginning; the medium through which fascism actually propagates is the silence of the privileged and the apolitical. And our voices, and our voices alone, have the power to annihilate that medium. To remain quiet during such times is to be compliant with the injustice being meted out to our fellow human beings.
Gokul KP is a corporate employee and an ambitious writer who aspires to become a journalist one day. He would like to describe his whole life as a dark, fascist dystopia. You can find him on Instagram.
Featured Image Source: Jansatta