Millions of ordinary Indians including students- young people- women, workers- journalists- lawyers- intellectuals and political activists are on the streets against the policies of hate and divide imposed by Modi sarkar. The protests were started in Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University against the controversial Indian Citizen Act by students. This new law is considered as anti-Muslim- Islamophobic and fascist. In this law Muslims were targeted. The purpose of this law is strip off millions of Muslims from Indian citizenship.
What is happening in India now was impossible without the heroic defiance and resistance of student heroes from Jamia Millia and Aligarh. Their resistance exposed the cruelty and brutality of Modi government and the nature of uniformed thugs supervised by Amit Shah. The students and especially female students stood firmly on their feet defying the batons- tear gas and bullets. The female students even faced molestation and sexual harassment. Delhi Police did everything possible to terrorise and intimidate students. Many of them sustained serious injuries and broken limbs. Across the world, students are viewed as a nation’s future. Their voices are heard by powers that be with the seriousness that they deserve.
Young girls like Ayesha Renna and Ladeeda Farzana, the Jamia students who valiantly took on the might of the Indian state, have overnight become heroes or ‘sheroes’ — as they are being called by the Indian media — of a nation that desperately wants to return to its all-embracing spirit. They have become icon of resistance and hope. They have shown to the political leadership of opposition parties how to fight against a fascist and authoritarian order. They have shown that mere speeches and statements in and outside Parliament are not enough to stop this march of madness and hatred.
The Modi government responded with brute force against the protesting students. The police unleashed brutal and unprecedented crackdown against students which provoked country- wide protests. The Modi government thought that repressive measures and police brutality would crush the protests. The scenes of female students defying the police brutality from Jamia Millia inspired millions across India. The police crackdown provoked student protests across the country and others joined too.
The students and young people across India have shown solidarity with Muslims and protesting students. They have rejected the politics of hate and divide and cut cross the entire religious- ethnic- racial and communal divide to join hands against the fascists’ policies of Modi government. Millions are defying police repression across India and protesting on the streets.
The message is clear from millions of protestors- India belongs to all Indians including Muslims. They have refused to follow the policies of hate- bigotry and divide. There is a realisation among the sections of population that at the face of it-Muslims are being targeted but the real target is democracy and secular state. The agenda is clearly Hindutva- to make India a Hindu state. The scale of resistance and defiance shown so far by protestors has shocked the Modi government. The brutal use of force- killings and mass arrests has failed to stop the protests.
Millions and millions of students from schools, colleges and university campuses — as well as ordinary people across India — have come out on the streets in solidarity with the students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. The protests saw every section of society united in their opposition to the highhanded actions of the BJP government. These protests are no longer about one religion or region.
It goes without saying that the majority of these students and protesters happens to be Hindu, naturally reflecting the demographic profile of the country. And they have firmly and resolutely rejected this government’s attempts to do to India’s 200 million Muslims what Hitler’s Nazis did in Germany to the Jewish minority. That is: politically isolate, disenfranchise and disempower the already marginalised Muslims, turning them into non-citizens, like Myanmar’s Rohingya, or worse, like the persecuted Jews in Nazi Germany.
After the stifling darkness and oppression of the past six years, Indians appear to be finally waking up to say enough is enough. They have been resisting and defying the tyranny of the BJP and its deadly duo. It is not an ordinary battle fought by the people on the streets- it is a battle for the Indian spirit. Modi wants to take it away to fill the society with hatred- bigotry and divisions. The protests are fighting to save the Indian spirit.
In its hubris and sheer arrogance of power, the BJP has ended up uniting this nation, reminding it of the ideals and values that inspired the founding fathers of the nation and their hard-won freedom. Modi and Shah have managed to awaken a sleeping giant of a nation, not to mention the long docile and voiceless Indian Muslims who have silently suffered over the past few years, taking every injustice and atrocity in their stride.
As leading Indian political commentator and journalist Aijaz Zaka Syed put it -“The home minister Amit Shah is hardly joking when he says that by bringing in the citizenship law and, its next logical stage, the NRC, which would cleanse India of “termites” (read Muslims) in his own words, the BJP is “correcting the historic wrongs of Partition. This is the real agenda of the BJP and its Pariwar: divide Hindus and Muslims in the name of religion. The CAA-NRC is nothing but yet another shameless attempt to fracture this country along religious lines, portraying the BJP as the sole guardian of the Hindus”.
Before the eruption of mass protest movement- many started to believe that Modi and Sangh Pariwar will be able to achieve its reactionary and fascist agenda without much resistance. But last 10 days have changed this perception. The people are demonstrating that they want peace and stability and simply want to get on with their lives. This is what all Indians — except the Pariwar, of course — want. And they have clearly concluded that it is time to speak up. Enough of this regime’s perpetual fighting of phantoms at the cost of real challenges like a floundering economy and deepening unemployment crisis.
The message is loud and clear. People want jobs- economic opportunities and better living conditions instead of hate and bigotry against minorities- Dalits and women. They are sick and tired of rapes-mob killings and lynching. Enough of the reign of terror that Modi government has brought so much shame and infamy to India. India under Modi is already declared as capital of rapes and most dangerous country for women.
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17 November, 2019