Quick Take

State power on overdrive in Jamia Millia

| Updated on December 16, 2019 Published on December 16, 2019

The Centre must not regard any and every act of dissent as a disruption of law and order   -  REUTERS

The government should desist from using force to solve political problems

The country has erupted in flames over the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which in combination with the plan to implement the National Register of Citizens all over the country has raised fears over whether Muslims residing in India can be easily disqualified as citizens. While Assam is on the boil for a distinct grievance against the CAA-NRC — it is opposed to migrants, irrespective of religion, for some specific historical reasons — the rest of the country, the Capital included, is engulfed by a sense of insecurity. However, it is apparent from video clips of the protests around Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi and Nadwa College in Lucknow that the police have resorted to excessive, if not unprovoked, violence. Meanwhile, solidarity protests in Kolkata, Hyderabad and elsewhere are on the rise, both as a response to CAA-NRC combo and the increasingly brutish suppression of dissent.

The Centre must not regard any and every act of dissent as a disruption of law and order; dissent is a guaranteed right under Article 19 of the Constitution. Students are naturally predisposed to questioning, and this should be accepted, and even respected, as an intrinsic part of their growing up — provided their methods are not violent. The police cannot be condoned for going on the rampage in a university campus, vandalising libraries and roughing up students there. If students are fearful of their future as citizens, they need answers, assurances and a process of dialogue. A political problem that is of the government’s making can only be resolved by reaching out to the aggrieved sections, and the minorities in particular. When the state resorts to violence as the default option against those who question its actions, it ends up alienating a significant section of society. This can trigger a growing spiral of disruption and violence, more so if these happen to be young minds.

A disruption of peace and social harmony is hardly what an economy is the throes of an economic slowdown needs. It is not evident that the government appreciates this connection – if its high octane political moves are anything to go by.

Published on December 16, 2019
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