India this week saw two major protests which led to clashes with police officers. First, in Kudankulam by the fishermen against the nuclear plant and second, the in districts of Madhya Pradesh by villagers against the rising levels of dams.
Yogendra Yadav, senior fellow at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, said that if we ignore the questions raised by the protesters, it’s a threat to India’s claim of democracy.
“If this question is not addressed, we might begin to lose our moral claims of being a democracy,” Yadav said to CNN-IBN on a television debate.
“All these protesters are merely demanding their legal rights that have been granted to them, if they have to suffer in order to get their legal rights enforced, were does the problem lie,” he added.
Refuting critics who say that the protesters are holding the state to ransom, Yadav said, “Some kind of satyagraha is part of our political tradition. These are people who offer themselves for personal suffering and risk their own life.”
Also on the show was former police chief Maxwell Pereira who said the politicians try to see that the police is always under their influence.
“Without the police wing the state cannot exist. That is why the effort of every politician is to keep police under their control,” he said.
“The police is often seen to be misused. It is between the politician and the people of the state, the police is sandwiched between, and they are used as a pawn. If the police act they are hung, if the police do not act they are hung,” he added.