By Arun Srivastava
On the day the Time magazine listed Dadi of Shaheen Bagh’ 82-year-old Bilkis, a regular at the anti-CAA protest venue, as one of the top 100 influential people in the world, the Delhi police, “the most imaginative and efficient force in the world, even more intelligent than the Scotland Yard,” has come out with the revealing information that the women protesters were paid ‘daily wages’, used by the accused for ‘gender cover’, for secular cover and media cover.
Probably Delhi police has been reading out from the brief prepared by the BJP, precisely by the Union Home ministry, which had during the Shaheen Bagh agitation itself had accused them of being paid Rs 500 for participating the protest. Though like the BJP, the Delhi police gave the impression that it has come to identify the accused, the person who hired these ladies, it is significant that none of them revealed the real identity of the accused. It mentioned the names of the some alumnis.
The identification continues to a mystery. But more than that it questions the intelligence and credibility of the Delhi police. A force which identified the CPI(M) general secretary, Sitaram Yechury and persons like Yogendra Yadav, Apporvanand for provoking the agitators could not identify the person who financed them. Congress leader Salman Khurshid, CPI-ML Politburo member Kavita Krishnan, student activist Kawalpreet Kaur, scientist Gauhar Raza and advocate Prashant Bhushan find a mention in disclosure statements of accused persons in a chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police last week alleging a conspiracy in the Northeast Delhi riots. Strange is the behaviour and the functioning of the Delhi police.
From the narrative the case appears to be a simple mechanism to involve as much persons as the Delhi police and its boss Amit Shah can fabricate and implicate innocent persons. It is not sure whether the name of 82 year old Bilkis is there in the list or no. The 82-year-old, along with her two friends Asma Khatoon (90) and Sarwari (75), was at the protest site every day, braving a chilly winter last December, the coldest in over a century. The trio were hailed as “Dadis of Shaheen Bagh” on social media. Delhi police on its part can nevertheless order a probe as to why and how and at whose direction the Time magazine listed Bilkis among the 100 influential persons. Interestingly Bilkis, who became the face of a women-led anti-citizenship law protest at Shaheen Bagh said that she would have been happier had her demand of withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act would have been met. In fact Times not only named her as an influential person, but has projected her as one of the “icons” of all those who had joined the protests.
It is really shocking to comprehend to what extent the Delhi police could go to malign the women who participated at the Shaheen Bagh protest. Bilkis gave hope and strength to activists and student leaders who stood against authoritarianism, and inspired peaceful protests across the country. There is no doubt the Delhi police throwing all the ethos to the winds has been serving the interest of the ruling elites who are determined to perpetrate repression and torture on the people of this country. One thing is absolutely clear that Bilkis did not lead the women were paid. Instead his assertion; “I will sit here till blood stops flowing in my veins so the children of this country and the world breathe the air of justice and equality,” reflects their Gandhian commitment.
The Delhi police must be complemented for its innovative probe. It has put its best brains and efforts to link the academics of Jamia with the riots and rioters. This is the most dangerous situation. It wants to turn the Muslim youths and academics into criminals. The same design has been used to turn the Hindu youths in turning mercenaries. This strategy would eventually destroy the new generation. It is sad that in its ebullience to serve its political masters the Delhi police has been forgetting the oath its officers took while joining the force. They must ensure that intellect of the country is not destroyed and the country is not pauperised.
It is before us how the Modi government is trying to pauperise 100 crore people of the country. It has denied the minimum support price to the farmers by not including this provision in the Act. The small peasants would eventually be turned into agricultural labourers. Already the peasants having 3 aces of land had to earn as labourers to survive. Once the farm bills becomes acts it would throw small farmers to big sharks. Farm bills are crafted to fill the pockets of capitalist cronies of the BJP at the cost of the poor farmers.
The industrial labourer is also set to join the ranks of the paupers. With the passage of the industrial bills the labour regime has tilted in favour of the employers. The Rajya Sabha passed the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, Social Security Code and the Industrial Relations (IR) Code a day after the Lok Sabha cleared them on Tuesday. These laws will replace 25 existing labour laws. This was done on the plea of protecting worker rights and privileges. But the fact is otherwise. Trade unions, including the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, expressed concern at provisions that they felt restricted trade unions’ ability to negotiate with management or organise strikes. The laws will bring deeper uncertainty and anxiety on factory floors. The possibilities are remote that these will make the investors flock to the states. States like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh which had introduced some labour reforms have so far not succeeded in enticing industrial investment and augment the industrial scenario.
It is really sad that the registration of inter-state migrant workers on a national portal has been left to the workers themselves instead the government should have taken the initiative to install a mechanism to make sure every migrant gets registered. It appears that Modi government has refused to take lesson from what happened in the wake of the outbreak of pandemic, massive return exodus of the migrant labourers. Industries can escape the requirements by showing the inter-state migrants as intra-state migrants. (IPA Service)