Skip to main content

Kejriwal’s hands tied, Delhi Police under Home Ministry? No one muzzled his mouth

By Rakesh Sharma*
#DelhiRiots #VigilanteViolence #DelhiBurning
AAP aur Hum/ आप और हम:
What terrible irony!
2012: Water cannons used against Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) protestors.
2020: Water cannons used to disperse JNU, Jamia protestors outside chief minister Kejriwal’s residence.
Gandhi never hid behind police barricades. Nehru jumped into a hostile, bloodthirsty crowd in 1947, daring them to harm him first. During the 1993 Mumbai riots, my hero, Sunil Gavaskar thought nothing of putting himself between a murderous mob and their defenceless victim!
It is such moments that define and make a man, transform him into a hero or a great leader. It is actions that speak aloud, not Rajghat photo-ops, anguished social media posts, helpline memes or template tweets from the IT cell to rebut critiques!
Yes, we know electoral compulsions caused an enforced, politically expedient silence. But what explains it since February 12, the day after AAP returned to power with such a massive mandate?
Any political leader worth his salt has his finger on the pulse of the people. Hard to believe that Kejriwal was or is in any way unaware of the mass anti-National Register of Citizens (NRC)/ Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in dozens of cities and small towns across the length and breadth of India! Or the deep fear and anxiety it has caused among those who voted for him overwhelmingly.
Delhi has been on the boil for over 2 months. A period that saw police brutality and organised violence at Jamia Millia Islamia and Jawaharlal Nehru (JNU). Incidents of firing at peaceful protestors by Hindutva hotheads. 
Provocative speeches and incendiary slogans by BJP leaders. Large-scale fear and anxiety among people about having to prove their Indianness, their citizenship, or become a foreigner in your own land, left to rot inside detention camps, as no other country would accept erstwhile Indian citizens, now suddenly declared dubious.
That’s why when I saw the Kejriwal-Shah pic, smiling and exchanging bouquets, I hoped that the first thing they discussed was the ongoing protests in Delhi. Only to hear Arvind Kejriwal say -- Shaheen Bagh was not discussed! Why on earth not?
Yes, we know Kejriwal’s hands are tied as Delhi Police is under the Home Ministry through the LG. But no one muzzled his mouth, preventing him from issuing firm, categorical statements that AAP government will resist new-format NPR, or any kind of discriminatory NPR. 
No one has tied his legs to prevent him from walking across to any protest site. To be and among his own people, hearing their concerns, calming their fears, reassuring them of his support and solidarity.
As someone who saw the birth of AAP as a ray of hope and as its erstwhile supporter, this is terribly disappointing.
I’m well aware that upset AAP supporters will respond with outrage, repeat some basic homilies especially about realpolitik, perhaps even question my intentions or sanity, certainly my understanding of politics in India. This post will be flooded with screenshots of tweets, ‘proving’ AAP is hyper-active on the ground. 
Many will assume I do not know Delhi Police is under lieutenant governor (LG)/ Home Ministry and proceed to educate me in ways polite and otherwise. Their trolls will even tell me how I’m a closet Sanghi, Congi stooge or worse, as they’ve done in the past in response to any criticism of their Supremo, with the same force and zeal as Modibhakt trolls!
To repeat - actions speak louder than any words!
Let’s see. Will Education Minister Sisodia visit and spend time at Jamia and JNU? Assist the brutalised students in their quest for justice to ensure that the guilty are apprehended, prosecuted and punished. Whether it is Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) goons who got mobs into JNU, or the cops who fired teargas shells into libraries, brutally assaulted research scholars, or the Hindutva hothead gunmen who fired on campus?
Now that even Nitish Kumar has discovered a spine and Bihar Assembly has passed resolutions, it’ll be interesting to watch what the AAP government does
Now that even Nitish Kumar has discovered a spine and Bihar Assembly has passed resolutions, it’ll be interesting to watch what the AAP government does. Will they hold an Emergency Assembly Session and pass resolutions like Kerala and several other state governments have done?
Will they refuse to implement the new-format NPR, the formal first step towards NRC? Will they join citizens in protesting against the discriminatory CAA-NRC? Take the lead to forge a national forum of opposition parties? Or at least join hands with them? Or facilitate the RSS-BJP plan through silences, inaction or tokenisms?
We will know soon enough.
All leaders make mistakes. Good leaders are those who accept and acknowledge their errors to do course corrections. Great leaders are those who stand with the people, whatever be the political or electoral costs in the short-term (And AAP doesn’t need to worry for years, till Punjab or Delhi re-elections!). Time to talk, clearly, unambiguously. And then, to walk that talk!
***
PS: I documented and filmed Modi-Shah and their Gujarat extensively between 2002-12. I’ve been a keen observer of Indian politics, especially Hindutva polity, for 30+ years. So, the infamous Gujarat Model now unfolding in Delhi is no surprise to me. Nor do I expect the prime minister (PM)/ home minister (HM) of India to react in a manner dissimilar to the way they responded as chief minister (CM)/ HM of Gujarat in 2002!
Yes, I know Amit Shah is the Home Minister, or that we must critique him and demand his resignation for the ongoing horrific Delhi violence, even if it is pointless.
But, are we not even entitled to ask questions and demand answers from those who promised change and elicited our support in the name of a newer kind of politics?
---
* Film-maker and a student of politics, history, literature, society and human behaviour. Source: Author’s Facebook timeline

Comments

Unknown said…
On dot, even if it hurts. And hurt it should.

TRENDING

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

'Human rights trampled upon': Activists, litterateurs, academics 'reimagine' India

Bezwada Wilson, Romila Thapar, TM Krishna By Our Representative  The Reimagining India public lecture series, initiated by the civil rights group India Inclusive Collective, has brought together one platform about 50 prominent speakers in order to highlight how, over the last seven years, there have been “consistent attacks” on the democratic fabric of the country, with Constitutional and human rights of people being “trampled with impunity.”

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

How are Tripura Muslims responsible for attacks in Bangladesh?: 'Concerned' citizens

Counterview Desk  Calling it a “retaliation” of Bangladesh violence, several “concerned citizens”*, including Magsaysay award winning social activist and academic Sandeep Pandey and PV Rajagopal of the Sarvodaya Samaj, have said that the recent attacks on Muslim community in different areas of Tripura is a the reflection of “growing trend of using violence against another community.”

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Ease of doing business? Govt of India seeks legal cover to 'divert' forest land

By Gopinath Majhi*  The proposed amendments to Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FCA) vide ‘Consultation Paper on Proposed amendments in the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980’ (F No FC-11/61/2021-FC dated October 2, 2021) must be dropped by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC). 

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.