Palestine resistance: Govts should correct stances and actionstext_fields
Israel's bombing and genocide in Gaza is facing global protests. The resistance organization Hamas has been fighting for the protection of the rights of the Palestinians through popular and armed resistance since the international community and agencies failed to stop the atrocities committed by Israel in the occupied lands for decades. In response to the October 7 military attack by Hamas, Israel unleashed its brutal bombing in Gaza which killed thousands of Palestinians and made them homeless. The ruthless action - primarily aimed at covering up Israel's military and intelligence systems, and also to establish military power, and destroy Hamas - continues in Gaza. When thousands of civilians, most of them children and women with a large number being pregnant women, were killed or turned into refugees, it is only natural that people with at least a trace of humanity in them form masses in foreign countries take to the streets to protest. This past Sunday, and even before that, hundreds of thousands of people took part in protests in cities around the world.
In India too, demonstrations are taking place in many parts of the country, in solidarity with Palestine and saying no to the occupiers. However, the response of some state governments has been one of intolerance or hostility towards such expression of protest. Last Thursday in Delhi, the Palestine solidarity rally held by various student and youth organizations at Jantar Mantar was met by the Delhi Police with force. In Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh, the police used force and booked religious scholars Atif Chaudhary and Suhail Ansari for showing the slogan 'I am with Palestine' on their WhatsApp display photos. They were accused of creating disaffection among communities. In UP again, four students of Aligarh Muslim University were arrested for their pro-Palestinian demonstration on October 8. In BJP-ruled Maharashtra, activists Ruchir Lad and Supreet Ravish were arrested for protesting the attacks in Gaza, on the grounds that they had not taken prior permission for the demonstration. But four leaders of the Revolutionary Workers Party of India who had approached them for permission were immediately arrested and later released. BJP seems to be trying to see that nothing in favour of should be allowed. However, the paradox is that when the central government's pro-Israel stances came under wide reproach, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar himself said that India is always with the Palestinian people.
However, it is not only BJP governments that have done this. Congress-ruled Karnataka arrested ten people for a silent pro-Palestine march in capital Bengaluru on October 16— and the offence attributed was causing public nuisance. Such actions fall out of line with the Congress's official line, which has vowed to support the rights of the Palestinian people and the Congress Working Committee passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. In Kerala too, which has a CPIM-led government, the picture is not any brighter. A case was filed against 20 people in Eratupetta, including masjid imams and the vice-chairman of the municipal council, for 'obstructing traffic' on October 20 in Erattupetta.
While this is the case with pro-Palestinian campaigns, conversely there is no hurdle for any program of Hindutva groups in support of Israel. While they filled social media with militantly anti-Palestinian and racist posts, an ex-army man came to the Israeli embassy and volunteered to fight alongside them. Ambassador Naor Gilon said that he had received several requests from Indians wanting to fight voluntarily, and also suggested that another Israel Defence Force could be created with Indian volunteers. The embassy's social media handles are so flooded with pro-Israel posts. In a video posted by Yati Narasimhanand, a bellicose proponent of Hindutva, he said that Hindus and Jews have the same common enemy: [Prophet] Muhammad and their holy book. But no action is known to have been taken against Yati in this regard. In the meantime, for the sake of international image and to display the balance in the positions, the central government is turning a blind eye to the truth by making pro-Palestinian statements and providing aid to the Palestinians. Those in power would do well to understand that they must conduct themselves taking fair measures on the international and domestic fronts in such crucial situations. Otherwise their true face will be revealed to deleterious effect. Governments should treat pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli expressions as a humanitarian issue rather than reducing the Palestinian issue to a communal problem.