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Millennium Post

Decaying society

Decaying society

With the third shooting incident in four days, law and order have been taken for a ride in the National Capital. Peaceful protests that have lasted the good part of the winter were ambushed by abstract gunshot incidents at Jamia and Shaheen Bagh — the two epicentres of protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act. Political leaders such as Anurag Thakur and Pravesh Verma stirred sentiments through their provocative statements which rightfully attracted campaigning restrictions from the Election Commission. Their statements served as a trigger for extremists to disrupt the harmony, as seen in the obstruction of peace march at Jamia where Rambhakt Gopal — as he was identified later — shot a student in the arm. While widespread condemnation poured in, more shocking than Gopal's act was mute police spectating the incident in the background. In what could have easily been a more devastating outcome, the police's no-action video footage attracted severe criticism. The Election Commission's decision to relieve Delhi DCP (southeast) Chinmoy Biswal comes in the wake of repeated shooting incidents — a sharp reminder from EC that law and order have severely deteriorated when the capital is inching towards Assembly elections. The good was EC stepping up to take cognisance of law and order. The bad, however, was the Election Commission having to do it, and especially since Assembly polls are due in less than a week. While the Union Home Minister condemned the Jamia shooting incident, calling for strict measures, two more incidents took place since then. And, if the incidents were not enough, UP Chief Minister's utterly careless remark only made it more ugly. Not one leader stepped up to speak to the dissenting assembly that has gathered at Jamia and Shaheen Bagh, earnestly protesting against the CAA. But several rose to condemn it. It tells a lot about how much respect dissent has in our democracy. The government dismissed it as if people just took to the streets because they were unhappy. Unemployment also made them unhappy but that never became a subject of such a nationwide protest. It is outright sad that none from the ruling dispensation realised the moot point of the protest. And, in a rather expected turn, BJP pinned the protests and dissent on Congress and AAP — their rivals in the upcoming Assembly elections. Pinning them on opposition helps only because it answers questions from supporters regarding the cause for their dissent and protest. If they are opposition sponsored — as fake claims have been circulated — then there is a motive for them to oppose the ruling party's decision — such as CAA. But if they are not opposition sponsored, then with what object are they protesting? With the election on February 8, Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Milia Islamia University have been expectedly politicised.

These shooting incidents only hint at the communal disharmony that can be spread. India has witnessed enough communal violence to realise that nothing is achieved and everything is lost in it. It is a matter of grave concern that minors — currently not confirmed — like Rambhakt Gopal can get hold of guns and threaten people in broad daylight. To think about it, law and order took a setback the minute a juvenile got his hands on a gun. With such a tense political atmosphere where one political leader — Pravesh Verma — has the audacity to travel the length of calling the other political leader — Kejriwal — a terrorist and is backed by another — Union Minister Javadekar — affirming the same, what minors, less-educated or radicalised sections may take of it cannot be anticipated. How is calling someone a terrorist in public space allowed in the first place? This is not a lame school row where children unmindfully abuse each other. These are elected representatives. What is the example they are setting for the youth of this country? While a school is booked for sedition charges over an anti-CAA play, it is alright to call the chief minister of Delhi a terrorist because that is not sedition as per them. The current trend is not surprising but it is definitely unsatisfying.

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