Millennium Post

We don’t need no police state

This Christmas, it was the government which acted as the Grinch for Delhiites – the grumpy, fictional character, so averse to the Yuletide spirit that he stole Christmas! The brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old para medical student in a moving bus last Sunday, a little over a week before Christmas, had disturbed the city enough to make it forget celebrations. But what little festival warmth was left was snuffed out by the authorities. Apparently, lathi charge, use of tear gas and water canon against those protesting against the gangrape and demanding exemplary punishment for the rapists was not enough for those in power. A day before Christmas, the authorities literally shut down the city. Nine Metro stations were shut on Monday. Four of them opened on Tuesday, but five remained closed. The police also made most of the areas around India Gate inaccessible. All in the name of security. Who they were protecting, however, is a question that remained unanswered. Definitely not the common man, many of whom they had beaten up for protesting the day before. It is no coincidence that the areas that were made inaccessible houses the residences of some of the most powerful people in the country – the president, the prime minister and the UPA chairperson, to name a few. Many others, both rich and famous, live near abouts. So while the VVIPs remained secure in their fortresses, it was the common people who were stranded on the street without proper Metro connectivity and battling resultant traffic chaos. Popular Christmas stops like Khan Market remained inaccessible. Many Christmas engagements were cancelled.

More importantly, the spirit of the city was bruised, with the scared populace unsure of where trouble might be lurking. The action of the police was reminiscent of a monarchy or dictatorial state, where any voice of protest is clamped down and the job of the security is to protect the dictator/monarch. It has been reported that many in the government have criticised the action of the police. But the country saw no proof of their displeasure in their action. It is difficult to believe that a word from the ministry wouldn’t have stopped the police from lathi-charging. It is difficult to believe that the city could have been shut down without their knowledge and permission. The rape and brutal abuse of a young girl is an emotive issue that brought the city to the streets. But the fight has become bigger and the challenge now is to protect the very essence of democracy.
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