It is said a picture tells a thousand words. This could not be more truer than how well the photo of police brutalising Najeeb Ahmad’s (the JNU student, who has been missing for over 20 days) mother depict the reality of Modi’s India.
The pictures moved me to tears as it must have countless others, it forced me to reflect what it tells us about our polity in general? I’ve attempted to capture some of the many disturbing aspects of reality emanating from Sunday’s disturbing developments.
Injustice rules supreme
At its most basic, the police brutalising a grieving mother, whose only wish is to see the face of her child one more time, is about how in Modi’s regime injustice reigns supreme. The police have showed the least interest in finding Najeeb, presumably because the suspect here is the RSS’ student wing, ABVP, whose members had threatened and beaten the missing student before he disappeared. Instead, the police is used to suppress anyone who dares to protest this abdication of responsibility by the police.
In Modi’s India, therefore, police’s existence is to suppress the victims, not to deliver them justice. In Delhi particularly, the police seemed to have turned into an occupying force whose only intent seems to continuously instill fear of the BJP among the population at large. In such a situation, justice seems like a far fetched concept. Injustice rules supreme.
Humanity made subservient to political affiliation
The muted response of an average population to Najeeb’s disappearance and the subsequent police brutality unleashed on his mother by the Delhi police indicts Indian society. We have been so consumed by the hatred and lies being propagated that we can’t even sympathise with a grieving mother, who does not know whether her child is alive or not.
When I see many Hindutva followers celebrating and mocking this mother’s grief, my faith in our common humanity is shaken. How can anyone become so bigoted as to not even spare a mother’s grief from their communal worldview?
Then, there are those who may not be comfortable with Najeeb’s disappearance but are not ready to bring the issue up as, deep in their heart, they feel it will throw bad light on the BJP dispensation they support. These people sadden me to no end as is it so difficult to understand that before being supporters of BJP, Congress or AAP we are humans first. How can we make our humanity subservient to our political affiliation?
Also, my complaint is not just with those who celebrate Najeeb’s mother’s grief but also those who don’t seem to care. It’s said to stand silent when one should speak up against evil, is why evil thrives.
If today Najeeb’s case seems to be a hopeless one, it’s primarily because the silent majority doesn’t care. We don’t care when someone else’s child is lost or has been taken away and this indifference is what makes us so helpless when we ourselves are the victim and require society’s support.
Theoretically a democracy, but dictatorship in reality
Ultimately the indifferent manner in which police has conducted Najeeb’s search and how it brutalised Najeeb’s mother makes one fear that our democracy is increasingly looking like a dictatorship under the Modi government.
Firstly, in democracy every citizen is ensured equal protection of law as enshrined in Article 14 of our constitution. It should make no difference that Najeeb is a Muslim. It should make no difference that Najeeb had invited the anger of the RSS-affiliated student wing. It should make no difference that Najeeb was a student of JNU that Modi’s regime has continuously been at war with.
But apparently it did make a difference. It’s clear that police seems to care little about finding Najeeb, primarily because he was a Muslim, a student from JNU and a dissenter against ABVP. One can reasonably assert that if he had been an ABVP activist or a minister’s son the entire force would have been on the search, in fact it would have found him long ago. Or, he may not have gone missing, in the first place.
Secondly, accountability and responsiveness of the government to the public is what differentiates democracies from autocracies. But Modi regime seems to be totally aloof to its constituents. For over 20 days it has made little attempt to reach out to Najeeb’s relatives or friends. Are these people not citizens? Do they not deserve to have audience with their government? What happened to the much-touted claims that Modi’s was the government of 120 crore people?
Thirdly, in democracy, the right to protest is fundamental. If one can only protest when the regime of the day is happy to allow it, then that polity doesn’t remain democratic for long. In the inhumane way in which police is repeatedly cracking down on any protest that may be politically inconvenient to the BJP, the very right to protest has become a casualty. Thus we have been left at the mercy of the regime, which seems to tell us that ‘we can’t protest even when we not satisfied with our government.
What one is witnessing is something that will disturb most of India’s sane population at so many level. It may well be the government’s way of testing the water to check how readily we can surrender our freedom and liberties. This is why it’s high time we emerged from our slumber and make it clear to the government that enough is enough. It will not go scot free with routine assault on Indian democracy that it has developed a taste for since assuming power at the Centre.
(The views expressed here are solely the author’s own. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Janta Ka Reporter and Janta Ka Reporter does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same)