Violence orchestrated to discredit protests

Published: Feb 26, 2020, 05:08 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

The instigators of violence hope that the cause for which people are protesting for will be forgotten and that the public will only remember the riots

Vehicles set ablaze as protestors throw brick-bats during clashes between a group of anti-CAA protestors and supporters of the new citizenship act, at Jafrabad in north-east Delhi. (Photo: PTI)
Vehicles set ablaze as protestors throw brick-bats during clashes between a group of anti-CAA protestors and supporters of the new citizenship act, at Jafrabad in north-east Delhi. (Photo: PTI)

Delhi is burning as right-wing mobs clased with anti-CAA demonstrators to provide the spark to a powder keg atmosphere in the Capital on edge because of Donald Trump's visit.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged everyone to refrain from indulging in violence, saying all issues can be dealt with through dialogue. A number of politicians have joined in the sentiment telling people to show restraint, whatever side of the CAA divide they are on. The Delhi CM, in fact, called for closure of borders to prevent outsiders from getting in and creating mischief. Another political leader has stated that anti-social elements have taken advantage of a simmering situation in New Delhi and fomented violence.

The Delhi violence holds lessons for us here. Let us continue to protest if we must, like at Mumbai Bagh and previously at Azad Maidan, but always peacefully. A number of pro-CAA rallies too have been held in Mumbai, with a moving mass of people holding a giant tricolour across certain roads.

Both points of view have a right to be aired but we need to desist from stone pelting, inflammatory, communal speeches and slogans and unnecessary provocation besides of course vandalising public property. When violence is directed against any kind of demonstration, it becomes counter-productive only for those demonstrating, as it is the violence that overshadows the real purpose of the gathering.

The instigators of violence hope that the cause for which people are protesting for will be forgotten and that the public will only remember the riots. The instigators hope that the sentiment turns against protesters and the full might of the police machinery can be deployed to quell the protests.

In a democracy, such violence against peaceful protests is unacceptable. And the BJP top brass, starting from the home minister, who controls the Delhi police, must take responsibility for what is happening.

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