Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah deserve full credit for their mature and deft handling of the violent agitation in Delhi on January 26. They have made the nation proud. Strength is when you exercise restraint despite provocation. A government that conducts surgical strikes against Pakistan when provoked, is benevolent while dealing with its own citizens.
In that sense Delhi Police deserves full credit for treating the violent agitators with kid gloves. This will always endear Delhi Police as one of the most professional and humane police forces. It is such testing times that redefine one’s image.
What happened in the name of the farmers’ agitation was a national shame. Anti-India forces worked against the Republic and the auspiciousness attached with the pious day was desecrated. The hoisting of a religious flag where the national flag unfurls, giving the country pride, was an affront to the dignity of every Indian who adores and respects the tricolour and gets an adrenaline boost on seeing the flag unfurl and waving with the wind.
The bruised society will heal itself but the scars would not go away so easily. The national flag is the new symbol of patriotism for independent India, sans religion or other narrow consideration: a symbol in which people from all castes and religions see their fulfilment. Soldiers die fighting for the cause of the motherland while upholding this flag in their hands.
Except for diehard Modi haters, every citizen of the country must have felt let down, sad and angry as agitators masquerading as farmers stormed into the capital and unleashed mayhem unheard of before. This was not about opposition to any law but a ploy to vent anger and show that they could run amok, unchecked and unbridled and were a law unto themselves.
Calling them farmers would be an insult to those who toil hard in the field and produce vital, life-giving energy that feeds the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi rightly refers to them as annadata (food provider). Those sword-wielding and lathi-wielding goons have defamed the image of farmers. These visuals would not die out easily.
Imagine what would have happened if the situation was not handled properly. Police bore the brunt of their attacks but did not use firepower. They resorted to mild lathi-charge when the situation went out of control. People must have been shocked with the images of police being chased away by mobs wielding iron rods, swords and lathis. Some protestors tried to crush policemen using tractors. The sight was abominable.
Against this filthy demonstration and destruction of public property was the image of policemen not getting provoked. This was a very mature and sensitive handling of the crisis. When you take lathi blows on yourselves to save democracy and do not resort to firing on unruly mobs, you truly deserve credit. One may have never felt so overwhelmed by the sensitivity of the police as on January 26.
The closest example of such mayhem was seen when supporters of former US President Donald Trump stormed Capitol Hill on January 7 to oppose the official declaration of Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential elections. Police shot one woman dead and three others died due to medical emergencies. In the Delhi rampage, which was a more violent attack, one person died, and that too because his fast-moving tractor turned turtle while trying to break a barricade.
Modi-baiters are unhappy since the agitation has proved to be futile and exposed their nefarious design to defame the government. On the contrary, the events of January 26 demonstrated that the Prime Minister is mature, sensitive and treats his people with love. He has kept the trust of the people despite provocations. And people's trust in him would increase manifold.
In fact, some Modi supporters are upset that the government did not act tough. But they should understand that this is a churning process in democracy. If you try to usher in change, vested interests are bound to create trouble. Like Lord Shiva, the Prime Minister drank the poison so that the nectar, amrit, would spread happiness and give immortality to our fledgling democracy.
The desperate opposition has fallen flat. They know that they would not be able to come to power anytime soon. The more they try to oppose the Prime Minister, the more support he would get from the people. In their desperation to dethrone Modi, their attempts are getting aborted every time. This time they reached perfect alignment with proclaimed farmer leaders but they all got discredited and defamed.
Some farmer leaders acted as if they had become more powerful than an elected government. Their demeanour, their language and their attitude reflected as if they had become a law unto themselves.
There is one person who was in the advisory body of Sonia Gandhi when the United Progressive Alliance was in power. He is desperately looking for relevance in Indian politics. He at times masquerades as election analyst, social scientist, political activist, political leader and farmers’ leader. There are some who lost deposits in elections. Yet they claim to be leaders.
The Leftists, liberals and Congress activists have joined hands to work against the Modi government. They fail to realise that in their blindfolded opposition to the Prime Minister, they cross the line and take a stand that makes them anti-nationals. There is nothing to hide since everyone is acting in full presence of the media. People watching the drama unfold increasingly realise that Modi is their safest bet.
(The author is a national panel spokesperson of BJP and an author. Views expressed are personal.)