Violent incidents in national capital Delhi have been spreading in a manner very similar to, or as a second edition of, the planned genocide that happened exactly 18 years ago in February 2002, in Gujarat. In Jaffrabad of northeastern Delhi, when women came out in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) like in the Shaheen Bagh, former MLA and BJP leader Kapil Mishra made an incendiary speech calling for attacks, and sangh parivar gangs entered the scene under the banner of 'pro-CAA' demonstration and started pelting stones at anti-CAA protesters which became the trigger of all the current violence.
That stones had been brought in by trucks even before this happened, is enough to prove that the violence was not spontaneous. With Delhi police, which comes under the central home ministry, standing by as silent spectators, assailants continued unhindered their orgy of stone-throwing, arson and looting. As per media reporters who were witness to the scene, violence that was temporarily suspended at dawn, resumed with destructive attacks by 10 am on Monday. At the time of writing this, 13 lives have been lost including one of a head constable. The condition of seven injured is serious. Although hundreds of people sought asylum in nearby hospitals, the number of injured was so high that even the catgut to suture the wounds got exhausted in no time. Among the attacked were several mediapersons too. On another front, metro railway stations, petrol pumps and vehicles were also put on fire.
As it happens in such situations, places of worship were not spared either. Preliminary reports suggest that at the meeting called urgently at noon on Monday by home minister Amit Shah, with the presence of Delhi Lieutenant Governor, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, the police commissioner and MLAs, the main decision taken was to form peace committees in Delhi and constitute councils comprising MLAs and police to put an end to rumours. News reports also tell us that the meeting decided to put in action peace-keeping bodies on an urgent basis involving political party workers in all areas. For the restoration of peace, the central government should be prepared to deploy the military immediately.
Even when sections of population in consternation in general, and minority-Dalit sections in particular, had to come out in purely peaceful protests against the CAA and steps for new citizenship lists, it was evident that the trigger-happy sangh parivar would not sit quiet. The method of response of the saffron brigade had been very much in view when Babri masjid in Ayodhya was demolished and even earlier when Mandal Commission report was implemented. And now it is a stridently Hindutva regime that rules the country, with a sizeable number of states too under their control.
As a matter of fact, many states ruled by parties claiming to be secular and democratic fight shy of confrontiong the Centre. Most recently, even Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Aadmi Party that made a landslide win to power in Delhi State, is being widely blamed for playing a servile and submissive attitude. The police in that state is not under the state government, but of the Centre. Although secular India has by and large been protesting vociferously against the implementation of CAA and an unprecedented array of Muslim women has surged at the face of identity threat, the most recent speech of prime minister at Varanasi show that the Modi-Amit Shah duo are in mood to budge.
The fear and anxiety of the Muslim community is quite natural, as has been pointed out in the report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom of the US federal government. From other foreign countries too, concerns and opposition have been raised against the religious discrimination of the Modi government. But none of that has persuaded the hyper-Hindutva racist government to any rethinking or compromise. The way things are moving now indicate a possible calculation of the Modi-Amit Shah that as days pass by agitation and protests will wane and die out or they will be suppressed by their own bellicose followers.
Forces that are used to ascending to power solely on the back of communal polarisation are unlikely to be bothered by thoughts of peace or human rights. That said, it would be an unforgivable guilt if individuals and parties who yearn for calm and law and order to reign in this great country, still choose to remain inert or give in. We are passing through probably the last phase of an era where everyone has to work robustly for the protrection of our secular, democratic constitution and the restoration of a truly independent nation. It is imperative therefore that before the capital city perishes in a conflagration, patriots swing into action.