It is not surprising that Delhi riots investigations by Delhi police have many fuming. The interesting part is that those who are fuming were also the most vocal in anti CAA protests. They were wearing their anti CAA and anti-government stance on their sleeves with pride but today when some of them are either named in the charge sheets or listed as those who encouraged the riots, they are feeling maligned and are charging the authorities of curtailment of their freedom of expression and political vendetta.
Is there any doubt that Sitaram Yechury, Yogendra Yadav, Harsh Mander and others who have been named in the charge sheets have always enjoyed their freedom of expression and thought as enshrined in the constitution? The very fact that they freely encouraged protests, gave inflammatory anti-government speeches at rallies with communal overtones proves that their freedom of expression or thought was not curtailed in any manner. But when this right is misused blatantly, sooner or later the nation’s law will catch up. Every right comes bundled with some duties and responsibilities and if those are not fulfilled, the law has to step in. So, any charge that their freedom was curtailed falls flat.
The next question is whether it is political vendetta. The most notable politician in the list is Sitaram Yechury and frankly, he is as much of a threat to BJP government today as perhaps is an Orangutan from Borneo or Sumatra. Any grandiose vision that Mr Yechury has of being a political threat to BJP is only his figment of imagination. Others in the list matter even less politically. So, the charge is baseless, to say the least.
Surprisingly, none of them has challenged police claims that their names were revealed by those interrogated and hence their inclusion in the charge sheets. It is obvious police has evidence in support of the complicity of those named. They have all the rights to challenge the allegations in the court since they continue to enjoy all fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution that is so dear to these people. What is perhaps causing them discomfort is the fact that over last many decades they had come to believe, with the help of the establishment, that they were Holy Cows who could not be charge-sheeted or arrested irrespective of what they said or did. Unfortunately for them over the last few years, the nation’s mood and the approach of the government has changed – something that they know but are reluctant to accept.
It is these very people who often demand that the police be allowed to function independently and without political interference. It would be fair to assume that the probe is being carried out independently by the police in conjunction with other concerned government authorities but without any direct political interference. While Delhi police functions under the central Home Ministry, surely the Home Minister is not presiding over the investigations to monitor every word that is recorded from thousands who have been questioned. If the Home Ministry does any monitoring, it is all part of the system that any government of the day would do.
Any discussion on Delhi riots invariably turns to the role played by Kapil Mishra. There is no doubt that his speech on 23rd February was provocative. But what is important is to see what led to that speech. The preparations for riots had already been made by the minority community over many preceding weeks with local instigators appointed, incendiary material and arms stored in different parts of the city, targets identified and a well thought out execution plan in place. Anti-government and anti-majority vicious rhetoric had been doing the rounds for many weeks at all protest sites. Known BJP and government bashers were invited to speak at protest sites on a regular basis. Minds of children as young as four or five-year-old were being poisoned against the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Hindus by design. They even had the support of radical Muslim organisations from different parts of the country.
The gist of Kapil Mishra’s speech was to warn the dithering Delhi police to take action against this pending threat; failing which the situation could worsen as the majority may be constrained to take to the roads too. It was a different matter that the minority, that was already well prepared and raring to go, blamed this to be the trigger for the start of the riots. The fact is that riots would have taken place at the behest of the well-prepared minority during American President’s visit to the capital starting on 24 February even if Kapil Sharma had not spoken. The rioters needed wide coverage, both nationally and internationally, and the visit was a God-sent opportunity for their heinous designs. While this may not condone Kapil Sharma in any way, it does put the events in their correct perspective.
Some supporters of the protests and by inference the riots that followed argue that more Muslims were killed in the riots than Hindus and therefore it is logical to assume that riots were planned by Hindus. This is as absurd as it can be. Just for the record, in the recent Galwan incident in Ladakh perpetuated by the Chinese Army, while 20 Indian soldiers were killed, as per many reports coming out now after verification, 106 Chinese soldiers were killed. But these figures do not change the narrative that it was the Chinese who initiated the skirmish in a deceitful manner.
In the same vein, the fact that riots were planned and initiated by the Muslim community remains unchanged irrespective of the casualty figures or the extent of damage to property belonging to different communities. Investigations too support the same over time.
Unfortunately, in acts of rioting, arson and communal violence, the theory of equal and opposite reaction never holds good. The end results can never be predicted in such acts as there are no fixed patterns or rules that are observed.
It goes without saying that given the decades of minority appeasement policies that the nation had followed, it is natural for minorities to feel threatened today in view of the changed environment where appeasement is passé. But then it is also time the minorities realise that if the majority could live peacefully for seven decades despite appeasement hurting them, it now becomes incumbent on them to do likewise. This becomes even more important since appeasement of minorities has not been replaced by appeasement of majority – all that is happening is a creation of an environment where all citizens will be heard equally in a fair manner. Democracy works best when individuals think and speak for themselves as opposed to the herd mentality of voting or voicing concerns as a community at the behest of selfish leaders – right or wrong notwithstanding.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.