My Panchkula Has Turned Into Jail, Writes Woman Who Stood Up To Stalker
This spirit of laying down their (Dera Sacha Sauda supporters) own lives in support of this Godman, could, within a split second, turn into a spirit of taking lives for the same reason.
Policemen turn back passengers who they suspect are supporters of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect near Panchkula on Thursday, August 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Panchkula: For the last couple of days, if you live in Panchkula, you couldn't step out of the house without encountering alternating hordes of policemen & Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS) followers.
Now, you can't step out of the house at all.
Ironic, that mere days after my fight for freedom started, the entire state is now locked inside their houses for fear of their lives.
Having seen the coverage, and interacted with some of these dedicated 'fans' though, it feels like most of these people are flocking for no other reason than to support their 'Pitaji', and maybe just to get a glimpse of this man they've elevated to a God-like status. These people vehemently claim that anyone associated with the Dera never has and never will, indulge in violence.
At first glance, it seems almost unbelievable that this crowd could even be capable of violence. There are women and children of all ages, langars being organised, First-Aid points have been established, charging points for mobile phones have been set up, announcements about keeping their surroundings clean echo through the throng every now & then; it hardly seems more threatening than a dharamshala.
Many of these fans are willing to self-immolate for him, assuring anyone who asks "Hum to kisi ka patta bhi nahi todenge, lekin apni jaan daanv par lagadenge".
However, history, popular opinion & common sense dictates that it takes less than nothing to transform a peaceful crowd into a frenzied, violent mob.
This spirit of laying down their own lives in support of this Godman, could, within a split second, turn into a spirit of taking lives for the same reason. A mob has no discipline or authority or logic.
And if I know this, and most of the citizens of the country know it, I think it's safe to assume that the government knows it too.
Yet, here are lakhs of people; a potentially violent, seemingly uncontrollable mob, and all the officials have done is make announcements about deadlines for curfews.
Deadlines which have been conveniently ignored by all these followers.
Would it not be a lot easier to control the situation if these people had never been allowed to congregate in the first place? Why must we wait for disruption to start before any real action is taken?
Two stadiums have been converted into temporary jails, but what good does that do anyone? Instead, why not let these people be contained in those stadiums already, and just let them support their Pitaji from the inside.
Our houses are locked, shops, schools, banks, offices are shut, roads are empty. The peace-loving citizens of the state are going through harassment, while those who are likely to incite & indulge in violence are roaming the streets as they please. I doubt people with health emergencies would even be willing to go to the hospital, out of fear of this mob.
The officials have gone through the motions, and assure everyone they are prepared to handle the crowd if something goes awry; but it inspires no confidence. No effective actions have been taken to make sure the situation never arose in the first place.
If law is not enforced, irrespective of who the accused is, how are we different from a banana republic? Why should it be possible for any citizen of the country to defy law enforcement by using any kind of circus?
It is the money of the taxpayers, the citizens, that is spent to run the government, and the citizens, unfortunately, are on the receiving end in all such cases.
(The author is a music artiste. She was recently in news for her complaint against an alleged stalker. Views are personal)
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