Despite the Supreme Court’s stiff order for clearing the 65-day arterial road blockade, anti-CAA, NRC and NPR agitators at Shaheen Bagh appear to be ruthlessly defiant and in a fighting mode. Caught chanting “nahin hatenge, nahin hatenge” (won’t move away) in refrain, immediately after the court verdict on Monday, the protesters take the story back to the ever-swelling horde of multifarious political lobbyists and activists, who are trying to create a dangerous, chaotic situation in Delhi and in several other cities, possibly dreaming of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ouster from power midway through his term.
They know he is sitting at the head of the NDA government with a massive mandate, yet they fallaciously believe that by arousing Muslims to resort to violence and cause chaos, they can go a long way in creating a strong anti-Modi wave, once violence breaks out at different places, in the wake of the protesters’ forced removal from the public places they have illegally occupied.
PM Modi popular despite Shaheen Bagh-like antics
However, slogans like, “Jo Hitler ki chaal chalega, Hitler ki maut marega (one who acts like Hitler, will die like Hitler)” seem to be coming as a challenge to the masses who love a nationalist Modi like no one has ever loved a leader in India’s post-Independence history. And, why does he command so much love and respect? Simply because he has had the temerity to do in six years what no one could do in decades, that too, facing a very active, hostile combined opposition as a massive roadblock. So, the prime minister’s ouster is out of question now or any time until 2024.
Take my prediction, Modi is slated to be an in-man in the PMO even beyond that. Whatever happens in states politically, in the meantime, is immaterial. At the Centre, Modi will stay unbeatable, invincible longer than what one can expect today.
‘No rethink’ on CAA despite Shaheen Bagh
For now, the prime minister has done well to firmly clarify that CAA, as passed by Parliament, is there for steady implementation and no rethink is possible on that and also on the abolition of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, no matter how much pressure is built against them. The apex court too probably sees the law absolutely in order, though the case is pending in its chamber. That is why it has restricted its ruling only to allocation of an alternative site for the Shaheen Bagh protesters and, for that, it has appointed three interlocutors — senior advocates Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran, beside former chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah — to find a way out and has simultaneously asked the union government to allow the protesters to stage dharna at some other place where public is not subjected to any inconvenience.
Interestingly, the court sees it as an urgent matter and, accordingly, has given to the interlocutors just a week to do their job. It’s again in order that NPR update, which is also being strongly opposed by agitators, is kicking off in April and President R N Kovind will be the first resident to be enrolled in New Delhi. It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR. A usual resident is defined for the purposes of NPR as a person who has resided in a local area for the past six months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months or more.
NDA’s poll defeats no reflection of govt steps
In plain terms, the strength of the government lies in standing firm on whatever measures it takes in the national interest. There is no scope for ambivalence on any of them. The recent elections in states, where BJP has lost, are definitely no reflection of the Central measures that have been taken to strengthen national security and effectively check illegal infiltration in the country that is already bursting at the seams.
State elections are fought on local issues and reflect the performance of local leadership. Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party, for instance, has won the third term due to a well-planned regimen of freebies.
The CAA, arguably, finds no justification of giving citizenship to Muslims feigning ‘persecution’ in Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. This law, therefore, rightly accepts only the minorities hailing from these countries who have suffered constant religious persecution, exploitation and discrimination there. Where have the 20% minorities disappeared in Pakistan since Partition, the rogue state has to answer?
Congress, others add fuel to fire
Meanwhile, Chennai is now the latest addition to the CAA protest cities in different states, where Karti Chidambaram, MP and son of INC leader P Chidambaram, is trying to add fuel to the fire, on clear instructions from the party’s central leadership. In recent weeks, protests, some of them violent, swept through the nation, with many agitators killed in demonstrations, normal life disrupted and numerous political leaders and activists detained. Even though the government variously clarified that CAA won’t affect anyone living in India and that there is no final decision on the NRC yet, nothing has worked on the highly politicized agitators.
Politicians opposed to the saffron party keep arousing the Muslim sentiment to promote their vote banks, but in definitive terms, only to the detriment of the Muslim minority community. Chidambaram was heard inciting the protesters, “You don’t have to fear, we millions are with you in this do-or-die fight against the fascist government.” Another INC leader, Salman Khurshid, is seen clapping in a video as children chant “Hamen chāhiye Kashmir-wali āzādi” (we want Kashmiri freedom) at Shaheen Bagh.
INC leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, besides Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, are alleged to be providing support and funds to the anti-CAA, Shaheen Bagh-type agitators. Are the INC leaders so ignorant not to understand that this government is only implementing the policies that their party had framed several decades ago, but didn’t carry them out fearing political fallouts?
No meddling on Kashmir, Trump told again
Meanwhile, in yet another strong response, the Modi government rejected United States President Donald Trump’s offer to help resolve the Kashmir dispute, saying there was “no role” for a third party mediating in the matter. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told a press conference Monday, “Our position has been clear and consistent on Kashmir. It is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.”
Speaking ahead of talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, Trump had stated that the US was watching developments between India and Pakistan over Kashmir “very closely” and was prepared to help. Trump’s proximity to Modi is well known globally and the former knows he is making a futile offer on an issue which is entirely bilateral. Yet, he does it repeatedly to humour Pakistan for reasons of diplomatic obligation.
Pakistan not working a bit for peace India’s position in the matter is clear. The onus to create a conducive environment for bilateral talks–free from terror, hostility and violence–lies on Pakistan. But it’s a pity that it has not moved a bit in that direction. On the contrary, it frequently engages in ceasefire violations on the border and tries to send terrorists to Kashmir. With such credentials of this rogue state, how can the peace process start? Talks can be held between the two countries only under provisions of the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration.
Pakistan’s attempt to create an alarmist situation in Kashmir, following the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, has completely failed. Even the global community is well aware of Pakistan’s double standard. Trump has offered to mediate four times on the Kashmir tangle since August 5 last. However, India consistently turned down his offers, at least twice in very strong words. That New Delhi takes a firm stand on Kashmir is also reflected in India going hard on Turkey. It has sent a tough message to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his support to Pakistan justifying its cross-border terrorism, by issuing demarche to Ankara’s envoy in India.
Not only that, UK Labour MP Debbie Abrahams, who has been highly critical of India’s Kashmir policy and runs an objectionable group on Kashmir, was refused entry into India on Monday, denying her visa on arrival. That is Prime Minister Modi’s regime, firm and forward, never ready to take domestic or global nonsense.