Written By VP
People across the world, especially Indians, watched in concern as farmers besieged the Red Fort in New Delhi on January 26, 2021. The shameful act marked an end to their peaceful protest against the new farm laws put in place by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government. Farmers have been up in arms for a few months now, braving the chill of North India to urge the government to repeal the laws.
Within hours of a mighty display by the Indian armed forces at the annual Republic Day parade, the siege of the Red Fort took place. At first thought, shameful; a blot on Indian democracy, but as the dust settled, several aspects came up for consideration. How could New Delhi allow such hooliganism on Republic Day? Is it that easy to raise a flag of rebellion at the Red Fort? Can so many mischief-mongers breach security cordons and create mayhem as if it was just a walk in the park? Or was it all staged to diffuse the whole movement?
Conspiracy theories are rife and will be about, but, on the flip side, the Indian Government should be given be given credit for not having fired a single bullet. Consequently, no one was killed. None became a martyr. Was it again by design? There are rumours, let them rest in peace.
What is more important is the global community noticed, including the young climate warrior Greta Thunberg and popular singer Rihanna. Microblogging site Twitter was flooded with pro-farmer messages; sympathy and empathy marked in abundance. Some saw it as a blatant violation of human rights while others viewed it as a dictatorial stance; something that could destroy India’s democratic set-up in the times to come.
Have the issues been politicised then? Have the demands of the farmers faded into oblivion? Has the focus shifted to the corridors of power and how it would respond to what is being seen as an act of sedition? Whatever the case, the farmers’ demands deserve consideration while the state deserves to be respected at all times. Violence has always spawned more violence. Let peace prevail and issues be resolved amicably. That is the way ahead.
Meanwhile, were the ones who scandalised the whole of India, while marauding the Red Fort, really farmers? Point to ponder…
(From the editor’s desk, e-mail me at email@example.com)