What happened in Delhi on Republic Day was definitely a politically coloured event that had a strategic format to it. One can compare it to Syria and other movements to topple the governments.
People coming on the roads is not new. But an entire campaign-led township being setup is a new idea in India. It is similar to what happened in Syria. A ruckus was created in a university, then the procession moved to the streets and then they created so much nuisance that a Police shootout became inevitable. This is exactly what panned out in Delhi on January. The same model was used where you create so much anarchy that a Police shootout becomes compulsory.
This is exactly what happened in Syria. The army had to be called in, they had to resort to firing, there were children who were hurt, then all sorts of anarchists were provided guns and then an entire civil war erupted. Following this, international agencies and governments pitched in to remove the government, there was global shaming and every international media outlet pooled in. The attempt this Republic Day in Delhi was similar but it is not that easy to do that in India.
The excuse provided in the National Capital is that a handful of anarchists entered the so-called farmer protests and misdirected it. Delhi Police had provided permissions for only 5,000 protestors and there were close to a lakh people, as claimed by various farmer outfits, on the streets of Delhi. What leadership powers do these farmer leaders have when almost 95,000 outsiders entered their movement? How can all of them be unknown anarchists?
The plan was to push the police to the extent where they have no option but to retaliate. And they completely tried that. They beat up cops, pushed and shoved them around, run tractors amuck, raised flags only so that the Police fires. They also tried to propagate the false news of firing via five-star journalists. The Delhi Police showed the biggest restraint by not shooting. Had they resorted to firing, the narrative would have been that while Rafales are being displayed as part of Republic Day parade there is a civil war-like situation in India.
I am even linking the blasts near Israel embassy with this. The entire police force was diverted towards controlling the raging farmers and the opportunity was used to sneak in anarchists who executed the minor blast.
Even in Shaheen Bagh, they wanted a picture of a burkha-clad woman being taken away by a cop in uniform. They wanted that photograph to be published in leading global dailies in order to tarnish the image of the Modi government. However, Home Minister Amit Shah did not give them that opportunity and tired them out.
Almost all movements against the Modi government in the last six years have a fixed pattern to them. All these international NGOs and think tanks have been operating in India through the FCRA route since the last many years. This route got curbed only in 2014. These think tanks and NGOs give cover to these so-called protests. These NGOs are of three types.
One is on labour reforms. They will make sure that labour laws cannot be rejigged and industries cannot develop much in India. That is the larger idea but they will take the emotive route anchoring on things like a labourer's daily wage, his/her family etc. Interestingly most of their funding comes from the Western world who themselves have watered-down versions of labour laws.
Secondly, NGOs working on pollution. A lot of ruckuses is created around anything that gives NGT a nod to and industries trying to expand. The third type is around policies, law and election mechanisms to discredit the elected government.
Every allegation that has ever been levelled against this government can be categorised under these three major heads.
As a citizen, I think it is time that Delhi Police now takes strict and immediate action and puts the so-called farmer leaders back to where they belong and clears Delhi of all anarchists.
Shantanu Gupta is the author of the book ‘The Monk Who Became Chief Minister’, a biography of Yogi Adityanath.
As Told to Rounak Gunjan