No one caused Delhi riots?

Today, depending on which side you are batting for, you choose your own facts and then force other people to conform to whatever opinion you subscribe to.

 |  5-minute read |   02-03-2020
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The dumbest thing anyone can do is to pin the blame for the riots in north-east Delhi on the 'provocative' speech by BJP member Kapil Mishra. But making Mishra the scapegoat for the riots has become the most politically convenient, intellectually lazy and journalistically jaundiced, explanation for the three days of madness that consumed a part of the capital city.

Shaheen Bagh effect

This is because it fits in well with the narrative that the woke and the virtue-signalling, the deracinated left-illiberal mafia has been trying to manufacture and sell to the Western audience, where it has been lapped up no questions asked, without anyone applying their minds or caring to study the facts on the ground. In the process, the old adage of being entitled to one's own opinion, but not to one's own facts has been turned on its head.

main_kapil-mishra_pt_030220115530.jpg Making Kapil Mishra the scapegoat for the riots has become the most politically convenient, intellectually lazy and journalistically jaundiced, explanation for the riots. (File Photo: PTI)

Today, depending on which side you are batting for, you choose your own facts and then force other people to conform to whatever opinion you subscribe to.

The fact of the matter is that the riots in Delhi were waiting to happen. For months now, the pressure was building up. Social tensions were escalating, fuelled in part by a toxic election campaign for the Delhi Assembly. But much before that, there was the 'protest' at Shaheen Bagh where many provocative speeches were made, there was the violence in and around Jamia Milia Islamia, the almost riot-like conditions that were created when Muslim mobs from the east and north-east Delhi went on a rampage in December 2019. But it wasn't only Delhi.

Things were happening in other parts of India — provocative and blood-curling speeches by Muslim clerics and leaders, ripostes to these by Hindu leaders, demonstrations by overwhelmingly Muslim crowds, roads being blocked, trains being burnt, targeting of Hindus in places like West Bengal, all against a law which hardly anyone bothered to read, much less understand.

The violence being perpetrated in other parts of India was being ignored by the (il)liberal media, even condoned by sections of self-proclaimed 'intellectuals'. Worse, it was being encouraged by Bollywood starlets and 'activists' and politicians with an axe to grind against the government. Meanwhile, there was outrage spilling over an issue - National Register of Citizens (NRC) - the details of which no one knew and, yet, everyone was getting all het up about.

main_delhi-riots_reu_030220120129.jpgThe riots in Delhi were waiting to happen. For months now, social tensions were escalating, fuelled by the toxic election campaign for the Delhi Assembly. (Photo: Reuters)

Moreover, it wasn't only about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, or CAA, and NRC. Social tensions have been escalating ever since the 2014 general elections, when suddenly, the secularism card that was played against the BJP, flopped. The BJP's landslide win in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh (UP) Assembly elections ended the Muslim veto in the elections. The year 2019 dealt yet another body blow when, despite confronting a formidable coalition of the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party won nearly 75 per cent of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the battleground state of UP.

Divide deepens

The loss of political influence and electoral veto came as a huge shock. A top Muslim cleric confessed to this writer that while the Muslims in UP were facing absolutely no discrimination in the delivery of social goods and welfare schemes, the loss of political patronage and power was rankling and creating a sense of unease in the community. According to him, the Muslim community work itself into a psychosis, not very different from the one that India witnessed in the 1940s.

On their part, many among the Hindus are no longer ready to pander to, even pay lip service to anything reeking of minorityism. This phenomenon is not limited to India but has been seen in other parts of the world as well. Even as social, political and religious tensions were building up, it suited everyone to let the wounds fester - the political class hoped to reap the benefits of polarisation, and the 'activists' hoped to sell the narratives that they had been peddling assiduously for years. With all the signs of growing radicalisation on all sides being ignored, something had to give, and it did.

National security issue

When the bough finally broke, nobody came out looking good. There was an abdication of responsibility all around. The judiciary, instead of ruling on the illegal occupation of a public road — which has now become a template, even a strategy (if you listen to the Muslim radical Sharjeel Imam and others of his ilk) to bring cities, even the country, to its knees — has virtually looked the other way. The administration has been reluctant to act because it is damned if it does, and damned if it doesn't. If they act, and something goes wrong, officials are not protected but disavowed, hung out to dry by their political bosses. Unlike in UP, where CM Yogi Adityanath cracked the whip and restored order within days, in Delhi everyone decided to cluck in disapproval and only moved when the damage was done.

Clearly, the fires of hate haven't burned themselves out. A lot of bad blood has been created, and things are simmering, waiting for another outburst.

With Pakistan and the Islamist jihadists like Al Qaeda, ISIS and Pakistani terror groups smacking their lips in anticipation, and Western opinion-makers aided by their brown coolies in universities, think-tanks and media organisation, and in organisations like the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, who seek to burnish their credentials by badmouthing India and Hindus working overtime, this is now a serious national security problem.

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Also read: Why the act of citizenship is political and creative

Writer

Sushant Sareen Sushant Sareen @sushantsareen

The writer is Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation

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