RASHMI OBEROI | 28 FEBRUARY, 2020
The new norm
What is the new normal in India? It is violence incited by religious bigots and power-hungry politicians. Mobs, rallies, hate speeches and bedlam are our daily fix. Our leaders seem to thrive on this. They rule us like dictators unflinchingly.
If you want a super-fast headache, turn on any of our news channels and watch it for a minimum of 2 minutes and watch the head pound. There is a chaotic out-pouring of news…and each channel is an image of its political backing. There is shouting…screaming…accusations…name-calling but no concrete news. A rare channel or two will show you the real stuff…close to the truth but not quite there yet. Slowly move to social media and then your headache turns into a full-blown migraine. Immature and anger inciting political discussions are the norm…here people go one step further and abuse you. Argumentative and rude to the point that is beyond redemption is in full public display.
All this while our political big-wigs play the dirty game of moving their pawns around as per their tunes. A city burns – that too our Capital… But the hugging and air-kissing must go on even though one of the world’s most powerful men is in the same city – just another ‘area’ and the foreign dignitaries watch silently as the banquets and political mileage take precedence. Don’t you think India has taken prominence on the global stage for religious conflict rather than a futuristic country?
The sirens wailed through the night, continuing through the next few days…gun shots ringing every now and then…the billowing smoke resembling thick black clouds rising into the sky…the cries of fear and pain…the smell of blood, torture and death… Yet, there was no sense of urgency in any of our political leaders to contain…to stop…to end the ghastly riots. It was a complete and total collapse of our governments/ruling parties/opposition/leaders/police and other national security agencies on all key fronts. No decision-making…no control…no accountability and no sense of urgency in restoring calm and peace. It was the ordinary citizens who came to the rescue – who rose to the occasion and helped their brethren. People from all walks of life pooled in their resources to help the injured/the needy and protected them from the demons that incited communal violence.
The worst religious violence has happened in our NCR and what a shame. It is horrific watching the videos of all the destruction and hate-filled mayhem. 32 deaths till now…hundreds wounded…homes burnt…shops ablaze…religious monuments vandalised…communal clashes that were sickening and heart-breaking to watch…criminals on the move while cops just watched them in action…people being used as gun fodder. Is this the new norm? Is this my India?
The miscreants and all those who incited violence have to be booked no matter how high in power they may be and punished. They cannot be protected against the wrong doings they have done. The Delhi police, who are under the central government's direct command, have been accused by eyewitnesses of turning a blind eye to, or being complicit in, the violence.
A Prime Minister who tweets for peace and harmony a few days after death and destruction… A Home Minister who took his own sweet time to issue orders… A complacent Police force… A Chief Minister who prays instead of taking action and garnering help… Leaders who incite and inflict… What have we come to?
The army should have been called in of the first day itself had our leaders wanted an end to the rioting… But that was not on the agenda… Annihilation was and so Delhi went up in smoke… Rioters ran amok on streets, burning and looting shops, pelting stones and thrashing people in the troubled areas of northeast Delhi. Incidents of arson and tension smouldered in the national capital as pitched battles between two communities went out of control.
Book the miscreants now… Don’t play games with the judiciary especially when they pass correct orders… Punish the guilty! We need leaders with a strong moral compass and a vision that is encompassing and inclusive. We have to be strong spirited and courageous against injustice. We need leaders who see beyond religion and caste, thereby able to unite rather then divide. Stop bifurcating India… Now!