Two policepersons sitting in a car were shot point blank by an as yet unidentified person in the US. It became an occasion for celebration among ‘Black Lives Matter’ activists, some of whom even tried to block the path of the ambulance taking the injured to hospital. Such is the level of polarisation that has taken place on the issue of so-called inherent racialism in American society. The politicians, such as Democratic Party candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who are supporting the protests by the ‘minorities’, particularly blacks, are failing to take note of this growing radicalisation. In this way, they are being pulled into a space they would not normally allow themselves to be in, if it were not for the votes they are seeking. Should there be a backlash from the majority community, it would be game, set and match for Donald Trump.
It is the same in India, fortunately to a lesser extent in mainstream society. The radicalised groups have long ago taken to armed insurgency as is the case with the Naxalites. However, most of such groups continue to remain in the leftist eco-system, which has become the cementing factor in the otherwise diverse opposition collective. The Congress, in particular, has a long history of collaborating with the Left, which saw its peak in the times of Indira Gandhi and, now, Sonia Gandhi. It is strange, therefore, that politicians like Sitaram Yechury and aspiring ones like Yogendra Yadav are surprised that they are now being named in FIRs lodged in sedition cases. Just as the bright sparks of Bollywood feel their use of narcotics should not be considered breach of the law because they are ‘special’, arm-chair ideologues are of the opinion that their dabbling in extremist politics doesn’t make them complicit in the violence that occurs in the jungles and the streets. It is good that the government is now holding backroom manipulators accountable for their deeds.
However, care has to be taken that the cases made out are ironclad. It should not boomerang on the government if, instead of obtaining convictions, they are embarrassed by the verdicts of the courts. The consensus in India’s politics should be a condemnation of violence in all its forms. Just as India unites against external aggression, extremism of any kind should be snuffed out. Politicians that play both sides of the game should be exposed, no matter if they belong to the government or the opposition.