The arrest of Disha points to the disha (direction) in which the Modi government and the society is moving. Activists like her are collateral damage in Modi government’s war on farmers to defend its pro-cronies farm laws. Disha’s organisation Fridays For Future or FFF India has been on the radar of the government for a long time and it was just itching to teach her a lesson at the first opportunity. FFF India was a part of an online campaign against the Draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2020 and had faced charges under the draconian UAPA which were later withdrawn. Having failed the first time, the Modi government took preemptive action and arrested her for sedition this time.
The lesson for the young and the restless is, keep your mouth shut or you will be shut behind the bars for a crime no less than sedition or Deshdroh. For the loyal law enforcers Desh means party in power and Deshdroh means speaking against the party in power. This was the policy and practice under the British Raj and is the current raj dharma.
Legal and procedural lapses galore in Disha’s arrest are being exposed but the main issue here is the high handedness of the Modi government. Bengaluru Police’s statement, “just a judicial officer was present during the time of arrest”, contradicts Delhi Police’s assertion that “her mother, a female officer and SHO of local police station” were present during Disha’s arrest. As the Delhi Police works directly under the central government Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are answerable for its actions.
Like Disha, the young must be ready for synchronised attacks from Modi minions. While the government will use the “legal” route to silence youth, the minions will adopt illegal means to harass them. Minions, in line with Parivar’s communally divisive ideology, propagate gharwapsi i.e. conversion non-Hindus to Hinduism. But Disha Ravi has forced them to dump it and take recourse to Parivar’s parampara – shameless lying through teeth. They are doing their best to discredit Disha Ravi by spreading fake news that this Hindu girl Disha Annappa Ravi is a Christian Disha Ravi Joseph which for Hindutva ecosystem means “anti-India”.
The bigger cause of concern for the nation today is the BJP Toolkit for defending its anti-farmer laws. Its steps are very clear. First spread disinformation that the farmers have no mind of their own. Next claim that the political parties are trying to mislead them and thirdly that the farmers protests are a part of a global conspiracy against Narendra Modi.
These activists are mere pawns in Modi’s high stakes game in ensuring that the farm laws are implemented as promised to Corporate Godfathers. BJP has to fight many state elections in near future and needs humungous amounts to splurge on pre-election rallies and post-election expenses on government formation by hook or crook when voters reject it. For BJP, its chanda-data (financier) is more important than India’s annadata (farmer).
The corporate sector practices performance-based payments and incentives and will not take kindly to politicians who fail to deliver. So the Modi government has to find excuses to malign the farmers as bumpkins who can be fooled by Khalistanis or opposition parties and then use this “proof” to ramrod its anti-farmers laws. Mr Modi has forgotten that unlike him the farmers earn their livelihood by the sweat of their brow and lead a simple life actually even when not on camera. Mr Modi has mastered the craft of obfuscating the issues by coining meaningless and making inane unprovable accusations. The brahmastra of “foreign threat” used to vanquish political opponents has been unleashed on the farmers and their supporters. The nation’s enemy within has in the past succeeded in finding enough gullible voters who fall for its crying wolf strategy.
Fake diversion of issue is Modi’s time-tested method of creating confusion to cover up his own mistakes. He and his minions do not want to discuss the unjust and exploitative farm laws and as a convenient ploy keep diverting the attention.
New India is witnessing the old daroga tactic of making an example of one person by public thrashing to instill fear among the rest in the area. The real character of BJP is on test and it will interesting to see how Mr Modi deals with farmer leaders against whom notices have been issued and who are to be examined or interviewed by the police.
Another bogey being raised by Mr Modi is about his image abroad. He has spent a lot of government time and money on foreign tours to promote his persona falsely and fears that the farmers’ movement has exposed the true face of an anti-people regime. He fails to realise that indiscriminate arrests and other suppressions of democratic voices at home has pulled him down many notches globally. Indian embassies face an uphill task in countering the international ridicule Mr Modi’s ‘my way or the highway’ attitude and enforcement of anti-people policies by misuse of his parliamentary strength has brought on India. Russians may silently suffered Putin model of democracy but Indians are not as easily cowed down. They have seen through Modi-RSS model of “democracy” and the truth has dawned on the global village too that Modi pays lip service to Gandhi but is not averse to Godse principle of eliminating ideological opponents.
BJP and its ministers have been taking cheap shots instead of countering point by point the analysis of the BJP’s plot to subvert market forces by backdoor entry of its favorites. By referring to the protesting farmers as parasites Modi has revealed his intention to ignore and not pay any attention to the so-called andolan jivis. His utter disdain for the opposition is a sign of his closed mind and dictatorial attitude. Pro-crony capitalists’ laws have been passed by a helping politician after considering all the political and other gains he will make from this action and Modi is now not ready to back off and listen to the farmers. With the die cast Modi is just playing for time for the protest to die a natural death with the period of time. In the end he doesn’t propose to budge an inch.
Modi comes from a school of thought where might is right and proposes to drive the farmers like cattle from the farm. He belongs to an organisation where the swinging of lathi or stick is integral part of the basic training for all recruits. And, he is applying the same tactics in politics also by using the government’s power and authority to browbeat and crush the opponents and opposition.
Modi is further hoping that even if the farmers’ movement doesn’t wither away he will be able to create circumstances where he can find an excuse to crush the farmers with a heavy hand using the might of the government he controls. His aggressive attitude is clear from the tone, the tenor and terminology of his highly aggressive speech in parliament.
Whether the gust of the government power extinguishes the will of the farmers or the light of fighting kisan continues to burn will decide the course Indian democracy takes.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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