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Feeding Off

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A number of political forces and parties with differing objectives have come together for a common purpose – to exploit the angst of the Muslim community that has expressed itself violently on the nation’s streets against the CAA and NRC. This is so the BJP governments at the Centre and the states can be destabilised and, hopefully, upended.

Picking at the periphery are the Congress and Samajwadi Parties, doing their bit in areas under their influence. On their part, the Communists have energised what remains of their cadres, mostly student groups in some twenty odd universities. They are looking for ‘martyrs’ of the Rohit Vemula, Najeeb Ahmed kind that can have mythologies spun around them for further indoctrination purposes. The latest act in town is Chandrashekhar, the budding ‘Dalit’ leader of the Bhim Army, last seen at Delhi’s Jama Masjid, waving a photo of BR Ambedkar to marshal ‘his’ troops. There are the voices over social media and in the mosques, struggling to shape the inchoate sentiments along various narratives. Then, of course, there is West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee who is off on a tangent all her own, to the extent of even inviting foreign intervention. She is desperate that the NRC would devastatingly reduce her votebank, making political survival impossible. Everybody has a reason to be present and, not necessarily, in favour of the Muslims.

The government needs to prevent the violence of the kind witnessed over the past few days, while ensuring there are no deaths from police action, thereby denying the provocateurs their martyrs. A lesson can be learned from the handling of the persistent ‘pro-democracy’ protests in Hong Kong, where loss of life has been the barest minimum. This has been made possible by intelligent tactics adopted by a well-equipped police force.

The concerns of the Muslims need to be addressed, who have clearly become a target of disinformation. After all these forces have harvested the ‘gains’ of the agitation, the community will, once again, be left further ghettoised. It is obvious that it is not just about the CAA or NRC; it is pent up rage at the feeling of powerlessness induced by the BJP’s relentless march to power. Banking on assists from radical elements will not help in the effort to mainstream; it will mean falling into the BJP’s polarisation trap. They should, perhaps, take a lesson from the community in Doon, which peacefully undertook a large march of its own, submitted a memorandum and, on finding it had caused traffic jams, quickly dispersed. This behaviour may not have been largely commented upon, by it was certainly appreciated. That is what ‘citizenship’ is all about.