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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 14 New Delhi March 21, 2020

BJP’s Hatred Campaign continues Unabated

Tuesday 24 March 2020

by Arun Srivastava

Modi has himself to blame for the battering his image received in the wake of the communal riots in Delhi. What is really intriguing is even after this he has not taken the steps to tighten the screw and put the people indulged in the nasty game in the right place.

After the Delhi massacre accusing fingers were raised towards Amit Shah. But Modi did not take any action. He even ignored the demand for his resignation. On his part Shah is also not ashamed of the Delhi mayhem. Modi must realise that his blind trust and reposing faith in Shah will ruin the country. Already a huge section of BJP leaders are angry with him and Shah.

‘Goli maaro saalo ko’ has also reached Kolkata. The saffron activists marched along the streets of Kolkata in red T-shirt shouting the slogan “goli maaro saalo ko” while felicitating Amit Shah at Shahid Minar for his achievements on March 1.

The raising of this slogan while Delhi is yet to recover from the grief of mayhem simply reinforced the belief that mercenaries are dictating the human lives. This also reflects that the BJP people do not understand the Bengali culture and they have severe cultural disconnect with Bengal.

It is really sad that the Bengalis, who comprehend this attack on their culture and its ethos, continue to support the nefarious action of these people. By supporting this political behaviour of the BJP they have simply been committing hara-kiri and ruining the future of their gen-next. It is strange that the Bengalis have forgotten vandalisation of the bust of Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar during the Lok Sabha polls. At that time too Shah and his cohorts were blamed for the vandalism.

The BJP has made it a point to play the “golimaaro” slogan targeting anti-CAA protesters at every rally. Though Mamata Banerjee is said to have castigated the BJP; “they should remember that it is not Delhi. It is Bengal and no one trying to provoke people would be spared.... This is not a slogan, this is provocation,” the academics, intellectuals and scholars must hit the streets and condemn the machinations of the BJP. If they refuse to react they will be pushing Bengal in the swamp. The State cannot be handed over on a platter to some vested interest to ruin it.

Modi is least bothered of the bad name India has earned across the globe for the Delhi mayhem. The world watched with utter disbelief that the Prime Minister, who is perceived as the strongest leader utterly, failed to check the communal clashes in which nearly 46 persons were killed. His failure at some stage sent the message that he allowed the Hindus to unleash a pogrom.

He knows that going on backfoot or restraining the hate-mongers would jeopardise the mission of the RSS. Basically this has been the reason he did not ask his lieutenant, Amit Shah, to maintain restraint though he has earned a massive bad name and is held in the people’s perception as the leader of mercenaries.

One question that arises is: from where did the saffron brigade get the morale booster to continue with its tirade and indulge in hate- mongering even after being pulled up by the Delhi HC and Supreme Court? The manner in which the BJP goons roamed around makes it explicit that they enjoyed the support of Modi. If at all Modi has been displeased with Amit Shah or did not endorse his style of stoking hatred, probably the goons might not have mustered the courage to resort to this nature of sloganeering.

For some columnists and political analysts Modi is a statesman. They are free to indulge in the eulogy of Modi. But they should also put Modi within the frame of the statesmanship, apply the basic indices and then judge whether he really fits into the parameter of a statesman. The eulogy of Modi by these experts, academics and intellectuals have made Modi to think and behave as a superman, who has no competitor and can get away by doing anything. The people are enamoured of him by his public posture that only he can create a New India.

These people must realise that the Modi-Shah duo has completely ravaged and ruined the democratic fibre and administration of the country and any scope of redemption is not visible in the near future. These two people have turned the entire bureaucracy into a spineless creature. Look at the way the bureaucrats have been functioning. They are scared of taking any impartial decision. The situation is even worse for the judiciary. It was really shocking to listen to a Supreme Court sitting judge eulogising Modi as a genius. This is an extreme form of sycophancy.

In Kolkata Amit Shah once again reiterated his oft-repeated threat, come what may the government will not retreat on the CAA and NRC. Obviously this implied that the people may continue to hold numerous Shaheen Baghs but he will not relent.

It would be naïve to believe that whatever Shah says does not have the tacit support and approval of Modi. His racist and fascist style has the sanction of Modi. Many argue that Modi was the best man to lead India in the 21st century. But this is again a misnomer. He utterly lacks the basic ingredient of a good visionary leader. He simply exploited the people’s frustration with the Congress and mainly against the Nehru family.

Little doubt, the father of the hate campaign against Sonia Gandhi or Dr Manmohan Singh has been the BJP patriarch, L.K. Advani. Recall after losing the election battle in 2009 he had turned extremely bitter towards Dr Singh. He used to describe him as “mauni baba” and “a person under the anchal of Sonia Gandhi”. He tried to present G2 as the biggest scam that has ever taken place in India. Modi picked up and harped on these issues. The urban middle class, which was feeling frustrated, shifted its allegiance and rallied behind Modi.

There was yet another major and significant reason for the fall of the Congress. Remember Rahul Gandhi tearing the ordinance paper which aimed at providing relief to Laloo Yadav and also his attempt to identify with Lilawatis and Kalawatis. The entire episode gave the impression that the Congress was divided on the issue of identifying itself with the urban middle class and the rural poor people. Please recall the manner in which the food bill was ridiculed by the urban people and the BJP. An impression gained ground that the Congress was wasting money on pro-poor programmes.

The urban middle class youth were also lured by his promise of creating jobs and money. Modi and his BJP think-tank used “perception” and “progressiveness” to bolster his image. He and his think-tank have been assiduously projecting a progressive image so that he can outwit other leaders. He has been using this as an asset. It is this which helps create his image of being the best man to lead India in the 21st century. Through this progressiveness he has built his own image different from others.

This image has been primarily the reason for the people even believing in his lies as the gospel truth. It is a known factor that he speaks lies left and right, but the people never disbelieve what he says. The people believe that he has raised India’s stature in the eyes of the world while the fact is completely different. Modi knows this and likes to flaunt his friendships with world leaders while the fact is that no leader has ever come forward to help India. Whether it is China or the USA, none has helped India.

An insight into Trump’s visit to India would unravel this. He used India for promoting his electoral prospect. He offered the arms deal. But he did not offer the trade deal. Donald Trump loves big crowds and was clearly delighted with the reception accorded to him.

Modi has himself to blame. Not just for the horrible violence in Delhi in which over 46 people lost their lives, but also for the hate speeches he allowed his senior Ministers to make. It was hate speeches that caused the violence and these alienated most Indian Muslims. It is an open secret that Modi hates Muslims. During his first tenure he had refused to wear a skull cap offered by a Muslim religious leader. It was during his rule that incidents of lynching took place.

The citizenship law has been the most controversial issue. There is no denying that it discriminated against the Muslims. It was during Modi’s first term as the PM that Muslims began to feel alienated. From the beginning Amit Shah publicly provided the impression that it would protect the Hindus. After the amendment was made into the citizenship law, Muslims were completely scared and alienated. Home Minister Amit Shah then proceeded to repeat in speech after speech that the new law would be followed by a National Register of Citizens (NRC) and real panic set in.

If Shah had maintained restraint, the prevailing situation should not have been created. Women would not have launched the Shaheen Bagh protest. We have seen in public life that usually a Minister or Chief Secretary of a State meets the delegation of the agitators and listens to their grievances. But Modi and Shah were so obsessed with the Muslims that they preferred to ignore the request of the Shaeen Bagh women for a hearing. If they had interacted, they would have found that the women were genuinely concerned that the NRC would harm only the Muslims, women community and Dalits if they did not have the documents to prove their Indian citizenship.

Instead of giving a hearing, Shah launched a tirade and hate campaign against them and called them traitors, jihadists and Pakistanis. No action was taken against the BJP leaders who led the hate campaign and no action was taken against BJP spokesmen who continue to rant on television against Shaheen Bagh. The top leaders of the BJP presented them as an object of hate and ridicule. And this finally culminated into a mayhem in which not less than 46 persons were killed most of whom were labourers of backward castes and Dalits from Bihar and eastern UP.

It would be naïve to believe that Modi even while hosting the US President did not have any information of the ghastly incident that was taking place in Delhi. Modi would surely have come to know the rage building up in Delhi before it exploded into violence. Personally, I do not remember when such a bloody massacre had taken place earlier. The reason is that in the ‘new India’, angry, hate-filled Hindu men and women believe they have the sanction from the highest leaders to treat Muslims as lesser citizens of India.

I wonder how Modi, the great Hindu hero, could treat the Muslms so badly that nearly 20 crore Muslim citizens continue to remain alienated. Since forming the government for a second time, the Prime Minister has taken a series of steps that have heightened the fears of the Muslims. The near-universal perception among the Muslims is that their interests will not be safeguarded by the Central Government. What is important is the perception. Perceptions influence actions and reactions.

A democratic and caring government would have reached out to the people and engaged them in discussions. Nothing of that kind happened during the last two months in the wake of the launching of the Shaheen Bagh agitation. The worse was witnessed during the riots. Amit Shah was in Delhi but he did not visit the riot-affected areas and meet the people. There is no denying that he abdicated his moral responsibility. In this backdrop it is worth mentioning one incident that took place in 1964. Calcutta was hit by riot that year. The Home Minister was Gulzari Lal Nanda. I remember, I had seen him moving around the riot-hit areas. His alacrity did magic and the riots stopped the same day.

What did we witness in the present situation? Instead of assuaging the feelings of the affected people and trying to change their wrong notion, if they at all nurse any, Modi and Shah derided the protest at Shaheen Bagh and presented it as a Muslim-organised protest. India can behave like an undeclared theocracy. Or it can behave like a secular democracy. Whichever course it takes, there will be far-reaching and enormous consequences for the Indian people and especially the Indian economy.

One thing is absolutely clear that both these leaders do not want that the politics of hatred be given a final burial. For them the violence and communal violence will be of immense help to accomplish their mission of turning India into a Hindu Rashtra.

The author is a senior journalist and can be contacted at sriv52[at]gmail.com

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