Since the last few years, Delhi, the capital city of India, has been on target, first, the universities were targeted and now the slums are burning. Since the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, this is the biggest communal violence that the city has seen. This time also, without any prevention, the dance of death continued for 3-4 days leading to the 39 deaths, more than 300 injured and heavy damage to the property. Many videos from the Delhi violence show not just police inaction but violence taking place with police complicity and protection.
The Central government based in Delhi woke up after two days and sent National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval for a tour to the riot-hit area instead of an elected representative. Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for peace through twitter. Meanwhile, Justice Muralidhar who was hearing the court cases for the Delhi riots was given transfer orders. The Supreme Court Collegium had recommended his transfer on 12 February along with three other judges. But only Justice Muralidhar was given transfer orders. Transfer of Justice Muralidhar is being linked to the court hearing where he came down heavily on the Central government and Delhi Police for their inaction and ordered FIR against BJP leaders for their hate speeches.
What happened in Delhi is neither a coincidence nor an experiment. The project to divide India into “Us Vs Them”, that has been tried for many decades is now put in acceleration mode. The divide created in minds is now visible on the ground as well, due to which India is falling into a dark abyss of hate, fear, and despair. The dreams of freedom, equality, and fraternity that were envisioned forgetting the pain of partition are rapidly being destroyed.
Justice Muralidhar had convicted Sajjan Kumar for his role in 1984 anti -Sikh riots and said in High court in the present Delhi riots that “ Will not let another 1984 happen in Delhi”. With the transfer of Muralidhar, the court hearing has been postponed to 13th April.
The background of violence in Delhi is the citizenship amendment bill and the movement against it, for which Shaheen Bagh has become an epicenter. As it was clear from the beginning, the aim of the citizenship amendment bill has less to do with giving citizenship to non-muslim refugees from the neighbouring countries and more to do with linking citizenship to religion. Since the passage of the bill, the whole country has erupted into protests. But instead of listening to the people who are sitting in protests for now 3 months, and clarifying their doubts, the central government is declaring them as terrorists and anti-nationals. The Prime Minister himself in one of the election rallies in Jharkhand said things like identifying protesters with their clothes. Since then, there has been a flood of hateful and threatening statements from people in responsible positions.
Karnataka BJP minister C.T. Ravi last year had made a statement like- “If the majority lost its patience then Godhara like things can happen again”. In the Delhi Assembly election campaign, all limits were crossed. Home Minister Amit Shah and State revenue minister Anurag Thakur gave statements like sending “current to Shaheen Bagh” and “Shoot the traitors”. BJP MP Pravesh Verma and Kapil Mishra are openly playing the role of riot mongers. During this time, there were two instances where youth were found to be waving pistols in the air at anti CAA protesters at Jamia and Shaheen Bagh and now the same violence has come in an explosive way.
In Delhi 2020 violence, there was no “action-reaction”, nor “a big tree fell that shook the earth”. This is a result of a continuous process that has changed the minds of many. Delhi is the capital of India and maybe the last endpoint of this project. Of Course whatever happens here will have an impact on the psyche of the whole country. 18 years ago, when “action-reaction” happened in Gujarat, Delhi was criticizing it, but now that the Gujarat model is being repeated in Delhi, Delhi is not even in a position to sigh.
What is happening in Delhi is horrific and worrisome, but what is scarier, is the lack of a political alternative. Today there is no political force in sight to counter the aggressive majoritarian politics. We only see people’s resistance but a mass of the population is prepared with hate to counter these peaceful resistance movements.
There is no project to counter the BJP-RSS project, but the even bigger worry is the lack of a feeling for this vacuum. Not too long ago, the anti-BJP-RSS camp was jumping with joy over the victory of AAP in Delhi elections and was calling it a mandate against BJP´s “project”.
RSS and its electoral front BJP have their own agenda for which they have been planning for a long time. Their goal is not limited to winning elections. After BJPs defeat in Delhi Elections, Amit Shah had said- BJP is an ideology based party and it does not fight elections to win but elections are also a medium to further its ideology.
It is the result of this planning that today the basis of electoral politics has changed in the country. Today RSS proposed Hindutva politics has become mainstream politics. This is a big victory for any ideology that all electoral parties in the country wittingly or out of helplessness are competing on the pitch laid out by them.
However, the violence in Delhi is not a reaction to any recent incident. The chasm has become much deeper and now it is showing its deadly dance in the capital. This chasm can only be filled with a long term project. It seems that after 2014 the political parties in the country have also gone for a hiatus at a time when they are needed the most.
In such an adverse situation, both in politics as well as society, there is an absolute absence of judiciousness and there is not even a single person in the country to whom the whole country is willing to listen.
Views are personal. Javed Anees is a writer based in Delhi.
The article has been translated from the original article at the media vigil.