By Arun Srivastava
The BJP leadership usually boasts of their fight against Emergency and claim they were primarily responsible for forcing the autocrat Indira Gandhi to retreat. They are free to make any claim which suits them. But the fact is fight during the Emergency was simple. It was a fight for the restoration of democracy against authoritarianism.
But the present socio-political scenario is quite different and more dangerous. At that time the fight was against the autocratic behaviour of Indira Gandhi and state authoritarianism. But now, besides fighting the autocratic rule of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah and the resultant state authoritarianism, the people have to fight against the autocratic behaviour of the extremely communalised state. During Emergency, the people of the country were not divided on communal lines. The Congressmen supported Emergency. Even their rank was quite small; they were split. Many Congress stalwarts had left the party. But now the vilifying communal propaganda has not only scared the party leaders from speaking against the CAA and NRC, but unfortunately has vertically split the society. A vilification campaign has been launched against Muslims. Every attempt is being made to unleash passions that relegate minorities to second class citizens.
None else but the Margdarshak of the BJP, L K Advani is around the political scene to testify the development and reveal the truth. He was the person who played key role in merging Jana Sangh and also instrumental in breaking the Janata Party and floating the present BJP. He was the brain behind floating the idea of NRC in Assam which, in the current political situation, has attained the character of a monster.
Often the question is asked why Modi has been insistence about maintaining the CAA and is not willing to diluting some of the statutory provisions? No doubt the primary reason has been the compulsion to comply with the directives of RSS to push the country closer to Hindutva. The second reason has been to keep the power under his belt. Conceding any space would embolden his detractors inside the party and this may witness undermining his authority. The pressure has been so acute that Modi has not deterred from perpetrating enormous coercion and torture on the protesters. This nature of torture had not been resorted to during Emergency. This movement has claimed at least 25 precious lives.
The entire government exercise has been to consolidate the majoritarian identity, and coerce the people to such an extent so that the CAA becomes success is the sole motive. The worst victim in the entire machination has been the secular character of the country. Listen to the speeches of UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath. Only a day back he did not hesitate to undermine the social status of the women protesters. He said the men were sleeping at home while made their wives sit at road crossings. This is purely an act of insulting Muslims and nothing else. He has also implied that Muslim men are afraid of resorting to protest, which is why they are pushing their women to agitate.
From the day these women started satyagrah, the BJP has been projecting these movements as those solely by and for Muslim women. The BJP, especially Yogi has been resorting to this tactics, simply to keep the Hindu women from these activities. But to his bad luck, Yogi has miserably failed in his endeavour. The fact is Hindu women in most of the cases outnumber them. The communal axis is being used to divide society so that it cannot unite against the authoritarian state. So, the fight over CAA cannot be won without ensuring these issues do not divide us.
The state has advantages in this fight. It has the power of repression. What has come as surprise is the refusal of the Supreme Court in taking the issue seriously. One wonders when the country is burning and witnesses severe state repression, it refrained from even ask the government not to rush. Heaven would not have fallen if the government was asked to wait till the Constitutional Bench is consisted and starts functioning.
The government is simply testing the perseverance index of the people. When there is protest, government uses that as a pretext to repress even more. Modi-Shah have been reiterating that Muslims will not be discriminated. If there conscience is clear why not they incorporate in the Act. But on the contrary they target them based on their identity. When they protest, it uses that to furnish proof of their disloyalty. Many scholars and intellectuals have already pointed out how the Babudom will use the situation to make money and also to debar from citizenship.
Shockingly it is the state that is pushing the protesters to take to violence. They are aware that violence will not help their cause. It will turn state more ruthless and brutal. India’s official narrative is at variance with the understanding that has informed Indian foreign policy so far. If the persecution of Hindus has been a feature of all Bangladeshi governments, then why the Indian government did not confront neighbouring government directly?