Why Delhi Must Vote Against The Absurdity Called ‘Shaheen Bagh Protests’

by Tushar Gupta - Feb 8, 2020 10:54 AM +05:30 IST
Why Delhi Must Vote Against The Absurdity Called  ‘Shaheen Bagh Protests’Mother of the infant Nazia
  • A group of protesting people cannot hold an entire city to ransom only because they think their rights are supreme and stand violated.

    For, Delhi has umpteen other pressing problems that need attention.

For a region that constitutes 1.5 per cent of the national population, the Delhi elections have garnered far more traction in the national media than many state elections.

Given that these are the first elections after the enforcement of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the tensions are running high, especially due to the ongoing absurdity called the ‘Shaheen Bagh protests’.

Make no mistake, the protests are not rational or real enough to warrant an election that concerns the local issues of more than 1.5 crore Delhi residents.

However, with the free biryani offered by questionable stakeholders in the protests, and the attention thrust ensured by the media, this event will now be far more important than the choking smog, dirty tap water, broken or an absent sewage system, or roads plagued with potholes when it comes to issues driving the voting.

For this very reason, the people of Delhi must vote against these protests before voting for or against a party.

The primary argument of the men, women, children, and toddlers who cannot speak for themselves is that the CAA ushers a significant threat to the Muslims in India. Even though the government has made repeated clarifications about the CAA not being anti-Muslim, and even though the Act doesn’t concern any legitimate or legal citizen of India, the gullible at Shaheen Bagh have refused to budge.

The reality goes beyond what one may confuse for innocence or childish gullibility of the ones in these protests and is far more sinister.

Firstly, any protest that is rational won’t attempt to justify the death of infants, merely 4-months old. A few weeks ago, when the news of the woman, a mother, who unapologetically, carried her infant to the protest site every day in harsh Delhi winter, the first response was that the weather and constant outdoor exposure would definitely harm the infant.

One of the advocates of these protesters, a former leading journalist, took to Twitter to counter the people who questioned the mother for taking the infant to the protests last month. ‘Women are to leave infants at home alone’, she asked.

A week ago, when one of the infants being brought to the protests passed away, the parents chose to put the blame on the government for introducing the CAA, and went a step ahead in their lunacy and declared that the mother was doing it for the ‘future’ of her children, even though the CAA doesn’t concern her or her family.

This martyrisation of this tragedy outlines that lack of reasoning Shaheen Bagh protests have thrived on. Repeated efforts have yielded no positive results, and the protesters have chosen to hamper the economy of the locality, have purposely obstructed the route used by children going to school.

If this alone wasn’t enough, they have also resorted to heckling of panelists and bloggers who went to the site.

Confusing the public property they are obstructing for a sovereign nation, the Shaheen Bagh protesters made news earlier this week when they heckled a YouTuber who went to the site wearing a burqa. When she was caught shooting a video on her phone, she was held hostage by the protesters, heckled around, before police intervened.

Following the incident, one would have expected for advocates of the protesters at Shaheen Bagh to call for restraint and rationality to prevail. However, they chose to question the choice of the attire of the YouTuber who went there, and her decision to go there.

For any protest to be meaningful, it must approach a resolution. What residents at Shaheen Bagh, instead, are opting for, is a violent showdown with the government.

If videos of 5-year old brainwashed children threatening to kill Amit Shah and Narendra Modi are anything to go by, the protesters will invite any attempt of the law enforcement agencies to clear the site to further their agenda against the government. The idea is to max-out the ‘victim credit card’,

The ploy behind Shaheen Bagh, as evident by now, was not that of heroic resistance against a draconian law, but to create sovereign sites across India, governed by protests rooted in misinformation and fear-mongering.

Today, it is Delhi, later this year it will be Bihar, and next year, it will be West Bengal, as each of them go to elections.

This must stop, and Delhi must be the place to end it. As much as our right to protests is guaranteed by the Constitution, this attempt to hijack the national discourse in the garb of a protest charade must stop.

Shaheen Bagh must go back to being as it were, before it was taken over by the ones who seem to put ideology before infants.

Tushar is a senior-sub-editor at Swarajya. He tweets at @Tushar15_
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