#SeditionDebate: India grapples with the violent and virulent siege within

Has India got in some kind of a war within? Break in India seems to have overtaken the Make in India program.

The visuals for the past few days — voices of "Barbaadi barbaadi, Bharat ki barbaadi tak, Kashmir ki aazadi tak jung karenge jung karenge", "Afzal hum sharminda hain tere kaatil abhi zinda hain", "Kitne Afzal maroge, har ghar se Afzal niklega", "Afzal tere khoon se inquilab aayega" in JNU and similar incidents taking place at Press Club of India in New Delhi, then a group of students shouting slogans in Jadavpur University in Kolkata, "Afzal maange azadi, Geelani maange azadi, Manipur maange azadi, Kashmir maange azadi". And then, a group of self-proclaimed "nationalist" lawyers beating up journalists, JNU students and teachers in Patiala House Court while BJP MLA OP Sharma indulged in violence against a CPI(M) worker in the Capital. Meanwhile, journalists on a protest march from Press Club to the Supreme Court, while a group of lawyers again turned violent inside and outside Patiala House Court premises, mercilessly beating a lawyer professed to a different ideological stream and assaulting a humble journalist, Tarique Anwar of Firstpost — certainly makes one feel that way.

It was only incidental that the "Make in India" program dais in Mumbai was gutted in a fire this very week.

 #SeditionDebate: India grapples with the violent and virulent siege within

Lawyers clash among themselves at Patiala House Courts on Wednesday. PTI

JNU, which was till the other day considered to be most premier postgraduate institution in the country, is now taken to be a breeding ground for secessionists and Naxalites. The name of another premier institution in the capital Jamia Milia Islamia too is being taken for similar reasons, albeit in private conversation. Jamia though had been in the news lately for different reasons — whether or not it should have recognition of a minority institution — but now there is a whole lot of talk (nothing official yet) as to whether some of the miscreants who shouted anti-national slogans came from the institution or were somehow connected to it.

The lawyers — who are supposed to protect the law and help the aggrieved seek justice from the court of law — have turned thugs and are behaving like street-side goondas, that too in the heart of the National Capital.

The journalists, considered the Fourth Estate of democracy — whose job is to report freely and fearlessly — are being intimidated not just through words or tough gestures but by physical assault by some, simply because they don't toe a line of their liking. My colleague at Firstpost, Tarique was beaten up, had his glasses broken, his nose and head bruised just because he tried to take a photograph — of one group of lawyers beating another lawyer — to send a report to our organisation for publication. He was not taking any sides, he was just doing his job.

The police, standing nearby, was duty-bound to protect him and book the culprit, but none of the cops came to his rescue.  They turned a blind eye. Thankfully, neither Tarique nor any fellow journalists from other media organisations — as is ingrained in the DNA of journalism — in any way obliged those bullies and thugs.

The students organisations of various hues in government universities are allowed to flourish and propagate their ideology in order to give a vent to conflicting opinions and keep the basic ethos of dissent alive on campus. But then, a group of students and student organisations chose to cross that thin line and chant anti-national slogans including those that called for the destruction of the nation and eulogised terrorists hanged after the conclusion of a multi-tiered process of trial and due process. Anti-national activities are given an ideological garb and the virus spreads from JNU to Jadavpur University.

It's true that the state couldn't be a mute spectator and consider kid-glove treatment when blatant anti-national acts are committed in the Capital, but when it clamped down, it picked up the wrong person — JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar — against whom there is nothing serious, at least in the public domain. Meanwhile, the real culprits are allowed to free. Kanhaiya is booked for sedition, but the real culprits are at still large. So much for the might of state and the intelligence of the Delhi Police. Thankfully, the JNU Teachers Association withdrew its strike call only a day after it was called.

The incidents also saw some most bizarre developments — Hafiz Saeed issuing a contradiction to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh's statement. And BJP MLA Sharma, generally known for his sweet tongue and proximity to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, indulging in physical violence and vowing to pick up a gun and shoot anyone who he thinks insults Bharat Mata.

From professed nation-building, maintenance of the nation has become priority.

Swacch Bharat can happen — it seems for the powers that be — only with some ideological cleansing from either side.

Updated Date: Feb 18, 2016 08:42:30 IST