Vandalism, Street Violence and the Bharatiya State
4 August 2022
"The answer lies in the policy of the Bharatiya state towards violence since independence....."
Violence and vandalism have paved their way into the everyday panel discussions of the major news channels in Bharat. Popular prime-time shows discuss vandalism by a mob against a policy by a government or clashes between communities on street and the police being unable to bring it down within a short time. But why did it come to this?
The answer lies in the policy of the Bharatiya state towards violence since independence. The Bhartiya state exercises extreme restraint while dealing with violence. This attitude can be clearly observed if we look at our police and security personnel. They are mostly armed with batons and sticks, and those armed with firearms have to exercise extreme restraint even in dire situations.
The inception of this problem can be observed in the vote bank politics that started after independence. The political bias can be clearly observed even today when action is taken/not taken against the offenders. Every political party whether right or left of the political spectrum ensures that its vote bank is not punished even if a serious offense is committed against an individual, a community, or the state itself. This can be observed during the riots against the quotation of hadiths by Nupur Sharma, several governments acted harshly against violators of public order and the very opposite can be observed during the violence against the recently introduced Agneepath policy.
This political bias leads to delayed action and the security apparatus acts only when the situation starts going beyond extreme. A recent example is the anti-farm bill agitation by Punjabi farmers. The 5 major entry points into the national capital were blocked by protestors which caused ₹70,000 crore+ in damages and losses to the businesses. This blockade finally culminated in the Republic Day riots which made our Bharat Mata hang her head in shame. There are several other examples that tell the same story, some of the more unknown ones are the Hindu Muslim riots of Ahmedabad in 1969, which made the citizens live under fear for about a month, the anti-CAA riots, the 2020 Bengaluru riots, and the list goes on.
The ignorance by the administrative service and the intelligence service can be traced back to the Kashmir Hindu genocide of the 1990s. The situation kept developing and even after being reached to a very tense atmosphere in the state, no action was taken to apprehend any violence that was certain to happen. This tells us, it is the policy of the Bharatiya state to not deal with an issue that will eventually lead to violence until it reaches its violent state.
But once the violence culminates, the state has the tendency to wake up from its
“Kumbhkarni Neendra” and act in a disproportionate way. The seizing and selling off of properties of the offenders to demolishing the residences of the “area from where the offenders came”, the action certainly teaches the offenders a lesson. But the violence happens again, why?
There are no First Principles!
What is a first principle? A first principle is established based on the first causes that guide the action of an individual or an institution. There are no first principles that security personnel can follow to deal with mob violence. He always has to wait for orders from the seniors to respond to a very crude crime like burning vehicles or a mob going on a rampage on the streets.
This causes a huge delay in dealing with acts of violence. The Economic loss in not dealing with violent protests is huge and is always paid by us, the taxpayers. The cost of just the 2020 anti-Hindu Delhi Riots was more than ₹25,000 crore, then think about the total cost that is incurred by the common Bharatiya for the incompetence of the state in dealing with violence.
The common man is the one who is always affected by acts of mob violence and vandalism of public property. This affects physical as well as the mental security of a citizen. One social media post could be a warrant of death signed by a radical religious extremist.
This affects free speech in our country. If a regular citizen cannot put out her opinion on a political or a religious personality, then the Bharatiya state has a very serious problem on its plate to solve. If spending over ₹1,00,000 crore on the police cannot prevent violence, then the parliamentarians have a lot to think about police reforms and increasing the budget for the civilian security forces.
The major reason a mob goes on a rampage is because of a call to violence by their leader. There are several cases where the accused is a serial offender and continues to hold the same post. A leader convicted for incitement of violence cannot be allowed to hold an office of significance. These fissures shows the incompetence of the state machinery to prempt violence and to deal with hate speech.
Several hate speeches go unnoticed or are ignored which later are used to incite violence through social media. Political and religious leaders like Akbarrudin Owaisi, Assaduddin Owaisi, Salman Chisti(Khadim of Ajmer Sharif Dargah), Yati Naringahand Giri, and many more easily get bail and continue to be in lime light.
We, the regular citizens suffer due to disruption of public order and we continue to bear it. There are several demands made to restore the legacy of the Bhartiya civilization and culture and yet no demand is made to bring back the culture of “pratipaksha”. We as a society never had the concept of blasphemy and today the nation burns in the name of blasphemy. The draconian IPC 295(A) snatches away the freedom to critize a religious figure which is contrary to what our ancestors thought and did.
The common Bharatiya should think and take a step in positive direction to protect her own rights. The Bharatiya parliament should be compelled by us to take steps to end this culture of “violence to get my way”.