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Plain Speak: Ghosts of CAA and Farm Laws Protests Back to Haunt Delhi

By: Shivani Gupta

Last Updated: April 19, 2022, 16:25 IST

Riot policemen stand guard next to a barricade set up near a mosque and a temple a day after communal clashes in Jahangirpuri, a neighborhood in northwest Delhi, on April 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Rishi Lekhi)

Riot policemen stand guard next to a barricade set up near a mosque and a temple a day after communal clashes in Jahangirpuri, a neighborhood in northwest Delhi, on April 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Rishi Lekhi)

In both these agitations – carried out illegally – police personnel came under attack multiple times. Just two incidents can be highlighted to make an argument

Plain Speak
At the height of anti-CAA protests, large crowds of Muslim protesters in Chand Bagh area of Delhi attacked the police mercilessly, to the extent that head constable Ratan Lal was killed and Shahdara DCP Amit Sharma sustained serious injuries. Thankfully, many videos were available to establish what happened.

During the anti-farm laws blockade, on January 26, India’s Republic Day, large swathes of protesters ran amok on the Red Fort, and again, mercilessly attacked policemen and women. Over 80 police personnel were injured.

Thankfully, in today’s world, we have omnipresent camera phones to record such acts otherwise nothing would ever even come to light. Even despite videos, many of these were either justified or denied.

In both cases, there was utter silence from the Left-Liberal ecosystem that fully backed all inanities of these protests and illegalities associated with them, just to roll back laws passed by Parliament. Platitudes like “whoever is guilty should be booked” were offered.

Cut to 2022, after initial violence during a Hanuman Jayanti procession in Delhi’s Jehangir Puri, the family of an accused was emboldened enough to pelt stones even on a police party two days later.

In any case, virtually all violence during Hindu processions this month has happened in the presence of police, who are either badly outnumbered or mercilessly attacked.

It is clear that a certain section has been led to believe that they will find implicit or explicit support regardless of what means they employ, as long as it is seen politically against the ruling BJP. Those who lend support to criminals will later ask why does the police not act.

You support every illegality, every bravado in the name of protest, every assault on fellow citizens and the law enforcement, accuse the police of bias even before they conduct any investigation, cry victimhood, and then innocently wonder why the police can’t control these elements.

This cabal supported months and months of illegal blockades that affected the livelihood of scores of people in the national capital, then cry hoarse over the razing of illegal properties of rioters? Can they see how spineless and two-faced they come across as? Both CAA and farm laws were challenged legally, yet the country had to suffer rabid protests. Who supported them or looked the other way?

You can’t back one illegality to question another as and when it suits you. This group has lost all rights to be moral or political portents of India. No wonder they are discredited and are falling by the way side. But the question still persists – why does the police not act?

What precedent did the Delhi Police set when it allowed blatant attacks on their personnel by rampaging mobs, but barely took any action to set the perpetrators straight? How can the BJP claim to be different if it, too, is interested in managing headlines and letting mob behaviour go unpunished just to ‘maintain calm’ or ‘political stability’? What justification will the judiciary and the courts give to explain how and why they tip-toed around both these illegal protests?

In all of this, where do law-abiding citizens go? Are they not being told that criminal behaviour wins?

Shivani Gupta is a senior journalist and co-author of ‘Ace against Odds’, Sania Mirza’s autobiography.

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first published:April 19, 2022, 15:33 IST
last updated:April 19, 2022, 16:25 IST