Home>Business>View: The campaign the leaders ignore

View: The campaign the leaders ignore

As the state assembly elections wind to a close, witih Rajasthan and Telangana remaining to vote, the big leaders are winding up their campaigns with the familiar themes: PM Modi against the Gandhi family, Rahul Gandhi against the PM’s posited allegiance to industrialists, Yogi Adityanath against Asaduddin Owaisi.

Yet, Uttar Pradesh has delivered a powerful campaign salvo against the BJP, with the latest mob violence in the name of the cow and the killing of a policeman in Bulandshahr, following which the chief minister has ordered an inquiry into the unfortunate death of the cow.

Yogi Adityanath is arguably the BJP’s most popular leader after Narendra Modi. He is at the helm of the government in India’s most populous state, one in which violence has become a feature of public life.

Encounter killings in a state, where strongmen and goons have been acting as political functionaries and have acquired immunity from penal action, strike a favourable chord with people who have grown tired of waiting for the law to put an end to crime in a lawful fashion. Yet, the cheering has abated, after the police shot dead an Apple executive, not in some Chambal badland but in Lucknow, the state capital, and several families of victims of encounter killings complained that policemen are settling personal scores using their carte blanche to kill.

The principle underlying encounter killings, supported as state policy, is that the law can be given the go-by, so long as the action that takes place outside the law pursues a legitimate goal. When ministers and Members of Parliament defend and show voluble solidarity with those accused of taking part in lynching of people in the name of protesting cow slaughter, the result is to valorise protection of the cow as a virtue greater than respecting the life and liberty of fellow citizens. Add the notion that the law is an occasional guide to conduct rather than its constant, overarching framework, you have a perfect recipe for violence in the name of the cow, which is another name for violence against Muslims and Dalits, two communities traditionally associated with cow slaughter and the processing of what remains.

In an incident not directly related to the Bulandshahr violence, a policeman was beaten up by the relatives of a youth locked up for harassing a woman. The relatives turned up at the police station with liquor and fish for their detained young associate. When the policeman said he could not permit them to serve the young man liquor, the mob turned violent, smashed furniture and beat up the cop.

There is speculation that the mob violence that took the life of an inspector of police in Siana, Bulandshahr, was planning to target Muslim pilgrims who had gathered in large numbers nearby and that the death of the police inspector quelled the mob frenzy that was building up to far more lethal proportions.

The lesson for voters in Telangana and Rajasthan from the recent developments in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh is that its ideology of militant Hindutva can destroy the rule of law and elevate might and its brute deployment as the guiding principle of society.

Politicians do not seem fazed. Voters might take notice, and care — or so we should hope, for democracy’s sake.

Source link

Review Overview


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *