Justice Markandey Katju-
Many people are blaming Kapil Mishra, former minister of Delhi in the AAP government, and presently in the BJP, for all the violence happening in the northeast and some other parts of Delhi.
It is true that Mishra gave a provocative speech calling on the Delhi police to remove the anti CAA protesters blocking the Jafrabad and Chandbagh roads within 3 days ” or else we won’t listen to you “. But it would be inane to put the whole blame on him alone.
The truth is something much deeper.
I have explained in my articles ‘Dark days are ahead for India’ published in indicanews.com, and in ‘Bad days are ahead for Indian Muslims’ published in nayadaur.tv that though the Indian Constitution describes India as a secular country, the ground reality is very different. Secularism is a feature of industrial society, but India is still semi-feudal (as is evident from the rampant casteism and communalism prevalent here). Most Hindus in India are communal, and so are most Muslims. This communalism was present in India even before 2014 when the BJP came to power, but it was then largely latent, and only erupted and surfaced occasionally (in the form of communal riots etc). After 2014 it has become open, virulent, and continuous, increasing exponentially and penetrating even the hitherto bastions of secularism like West Bengal. I have even seen this polarization among the NRIS in the Bay Area of California, where I am presently located.
Some people thought the Delhi election result had put paid to the BJP aspirations, but what they overlooked was that distributing freebies in a small state can win an election there, but it does not change the basic underlying social realities. The recent violent events in parts of Delhi reveal the tremendous polarization of Indian society.
The violence began in Jafrabad, but soon spread to Maujpur, Babarpur, Yamuna Vihar, Shiv Vihar, Gokulpuri, Brahmapuri, Chand Bagh and Ghonda. Muslim shops were destroyed, houses vandalized, and vehicles burnt ( as can be seen on the internet ). The wall of the Gokulpuri qabristan was broken down. Men with covered faces wielding sticks and rods roamed around, with police remaining mute indifferent bystanders.
It is estimated that till now 13 people, including a police head constable, have been killed, and over 170 injured, by lathi injuries, stone pelting, etc.
As usual in such incidents, Muslims were at the receiving end, and the police turned a Nelson’s eye.
I have explained that the unwritten policy in most states in India is to recruit very few Muslims in the police force. Hence, since policemen are predominantly Hindus, and since most Hindus ( like most Muslims ) are communal, it follows that the police in India is largely communal. The police, therefore, regard Muslims to be fanatics, terrorists and anti-national (with sympathies for Pakistan). Consequently, their danda often falls on Muslims. If ‘Hindutva’ goons attack Muslims, as happened in Delhi, one can understand on whose side the sympathies of the police will overtly or covertly be on.
The spark which became a conflagration in Delhi began with the anti CAA protest in Shaheen Bagh (near Jamia Milia). The great mistake by the protesters was to have condemned the entire Citizenship Amendment Act. Surely the oppressed minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh (Hindus, Sikhs and Christians) deserved citizenship, but this was rarely emphasized by the Shaheen Bagh protesters, and instead there was wholesale condemnation of CAA because it did not include Muslims. The sight on the TV screens of a disproportionate number of burqa and hijab clad women ( as even commented on by Modi ) gave rise to the impression that this was largely a Muslim show.
Also, a protest for a few days is acceptable, but surely not an endless protest, blocking roads, and causing other nuisance to the general public. Demagogues like Kapil Mishra capitalized on all these mistakes by Muslims and enabled them to give incendiary speeches, setting fire to the accumulated fuel.
No doubt the communal violence in Delhi will for the time being be quelled by the police, but it is bound to erupt again and again, and all over India, not just Delhi.
India is a huge powder keg of communal explosive, which is bound to explode violently and repeatedly, on a bigger and bigger scale. This is particularly inevitable since the Indian economy is sinking with record unemployment, and our beleaguered Government has no inkling how to get out of the morass. So, to divert attention from the real issues, which are socio-economic, and which it does not know how to resolve, it must have a scapegoat, as the Nazis made of the Jews, and in India these are those devils—the Muslims.
It is only when the fuel is spent, that is after some kind of French Revolution which destroys feudalism in India, that this malady will end, but that seems a far way off. Till then India will burn.
[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own].