Fight against anarchy disguised as activism | Opinion – analysis
The parts of Delhi affected by the riots are returning to normal. Those who surrendered to this senseless violence deserve the most severe condemnation and punishment. While the law must take its own course, as a democratic society, we have to think about certain key issues that led to this violence. Most significant is the way in which one should and can participate in public activism, including protests, in a democratic policy.
It is quite evident that the manufactured riots, promoted by a section of politicians, on the Citizenship Law (Amendment), or the CAA, led to unfounded suspicion and distrust. The repeated clarifications of government leaders that the CAA has nothing to do with taking away citizenship, since it essentially only aims to accelerate citizenship to the persecuted minorities of three specific countries that have taken refuge in India, had little effect and opposition parties continued to feed paranoia. . This not only legitimized the alarmism but also encouraged a degree of obstinacy among the protesters.
One of the fundamental flaws in the current discourse is in our approach to dissent in democracy. It is true that democracy will not make sense if it cannot encompass differences of opinion. However, while dissent is an inseparable aspect of democracy, dissent and divergence of opinions should not be and cannot be the only parameters for measuring democracy. Like disagreements, agreements are equally legitimate in a democratic policy. Democracy must not only provide space, but also respect differences of opinion. But democracy should not be considered suspicious in the absence of different approaches and points of view.
Unfortunately, Westminster’s model of democracy provides an inherently flawed approach. It unnecessarily presupposes a perennial difference of opinion and institutionalizes this. As a result, the Treasury and the Opposition are constantly at odds. This division is not always necessary nor is it always relevant. There are reasons to believe that an unduly strong opposition to the CAA and the tightening of positions by various anti-CAA groups are the product of this presupposition.
The same presupposition that is used to legitimize opposition to the CAA itself stems from prejudice. This prejudice is the product of a systematically cultivated suspicion that goes against democracy.
This non-enlightened opposition, along with exaggerated statements about hypothetical scenarios, has provided fertile ground for the wicked to sow the seeds of paranoia. A good example is that of the initiators and organizers of the Shaheen Bagh protest. Although there may be a significant element of spontaneity in this sitting, not everything deserves to be taken to the letter. It is unimaginable that Muslim women, for whom men in their families firmly reject the freedom of triple talaq, can spend days and nights outside their homes. Keeping women and children at the forefront and fighting a political struggle while hiding behind them could be considered an intelligent strategy, but it is also inhuman and anti-women.
If the judiciary had not contributed indirectly to the legitimization of this policy of obstructionism, this would have become an appropriate case for the investigation of the National Commission of Women and the National Commission of Human Rights. Obstructionism could, at best, be a unique tool, used in exceptional situations.
However, equating obstructionism with activism is not only wrong, but also an insult to those who oppose this. Giving protection to aspiring violators of the law for months together eventually discourages law-abiding citizens, eroding the credibility of the rule of law, irreparably. It is not out of place to question how the judiciary would react if a similarly peaceful Shaheen Bagh demonstration was held, right in front of a court building that obstructs access to litigants, and that too, for months together. Will protesters not find Shaheen Bagh as a precedent? Isn’t this a recipe for anarchy?
In a movement that smells of unconstitutionalism, several chief ministers announced that they will not implement the CAA. Imagine how the main ministers of the states governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party would roast if they refused to implement laws that grant so-called minority educational institutions the freedom not to implement quotas for socially marginalized sections. Despite their opposition to appeasement of minorities, they have to implement what Parliament approves. The refusal to accept the supremacy of Parliament in the legislation is an open invitation to anarchy.
One can understand the discouragement of a section of our political class. But the questionable question is: how can we allow ourselves as a society to allow frustrated politicians to foster anarchy disguised as activism?
Vinay Sahasrabuddhe is the national vice president of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The opinions expressed are personal.