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February 28, 2020

Gujarat 2.0

Opinion

February 28, 2020

Nearly 25 people have lost their lives and more than 200 injured in the three days of well-planned and targeted mob attacks in North East Delhi. The city’s markets, vehicles, and houses have been torched and destroyed. A mosque and Muslim cemetery also came under attack.

Delhi has seen the worst kind of violence and wars in its centuries-old history as the capital of India before and after the independence of 1947. Different invaders and occupying forces looted, plundered, and destroyed Delhi many times. Delhi also saw massacres in which thousands of people were slaughtered.

Delhi saw the massacre of nearly 3,000 Sikhs in 1984 after the killing of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi, who was killed by her Sikh body guards. The violent mobs under the nose of the then Congress government attacked the Sikh community and killed some people. Their properties were destroyed and looted and women raped. Congress won with a landslide in the general elections that took place after the massacre.

The Gujarat model has been applied in Delhi but on a much smaller scale. In 2002, the Gujarat state witnessed the worst ever mob violence in which 1,000 Muslims were killed – including children. Many women were gang-raped. Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat at the time of that massacre. Modi also won the majority in state elections after the massacre.

This seems a well-planned attempt to tame and frighten anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protestors. Mob violence has been used against Muslim communities to send a clear message to others involved in struggle and resistance that the same could happen to them.

In the Delhi mob violence, the target seems to be the anti-CAA protest movement. The other purpose seems to be to further impose the Hindutva agenda. The Modi government wants to turn India into a Hindu state. In that process he wants to also destroy Indian democracy and its constitution.

He has targeted the Muslim community to start with. But he will not stop there. Like Hitler in Nazi Germany started with the Jews but later he targeted the trade union movement, social democrats, communists, socialists and even liberals. Hitler took advantage of the infighting between social democrats and communists. They failed to form a United Front against fascism. The Indian opposition is making the same mistake. The Indian Left and working class movement needs to form a United Front with Congress and other opposition parties to stop Modi.

The problem for Modi is that Muslims are nearly 18 percent of total Indian population-which means nearly 220 million people. But in Nazi Germany, Jews were just nearly half million which was 0.75 percent of Germany’s population.

The RSS-BD and VHP cadres are being used to organise violent attacks against Muslim communities in north-east Delhi which became symbol of resistance against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The Modi government wants to break this centre of resistance and struggle.

The police are watching all this as silent spectators. In some cases, the police even helped the violent mobs. The police are clearly siding with the violent rightwing Hindu extremist mobs. One has seen state sponsored mob violence in Delhi for the last three days. The police have failed to protect the communities against mob violence.

The police played a similar role during the Gujarat massacre of Muslims in 2002 in which nearly 1,000 Muslims including women and children were massacred. Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat at that time.

Violent mobs have killed, tortured, and beaten Muslims on the streets in Delhi without any fear. One particular community has been targeted by fascists but the Indian media is declaring these fascist attacks as ‘clashes’ between the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protestors and Pro-Citizenship Amendment Act protestors. This description creates the impression that pitched battles are taking place on the streets in Delhi.

The reality is that well-organised RSS-BJP and BD mobs armed with swords, guns, axes, sticks and knives are attacking Muslim neighbourhoods. In some instances, Muslim youth did try to defend themselves and retaliate with stones and sticks. But these are isolated incidents in which Muslim mobs clashed with violent Hindu mobs in retaliation.

The mainstream media is trying to hide the fact that what is happening in Delhi is not a spontaneous reaction or sudden provocation as a result of an incident or event but a well-calculated and politically motivated move to punish those who dare to challenge the Modi government.

What has been happening in Delhi in the last three days was just waiting to happen for some time. The kind of hatred that was spread and threatening language used against Muslim protestors during and before the Delhi assembly elections campaign was enough to incite violence.

BJP and RSS leaders openly threatened anti-CAA protestors and declared them traitors and Pakistani agents. BJP leaders were not happy with the Shaheen Bagh sit-in of predominantly Muslim women, and consistently threatened them to end the sit-in and give up the resistance against the CAA. They chanted slogans of “shoot the traitors”, “we will enter their houses and beat them up”, “there is only one name – that of Jai Shri Ram.”

Prime Minister Modi and other senior leaders remained silent when local BJP leaders were spewing hatred and poison against Muslims. BJP leaders become more infuriated after the humiliating defeat of the BJP in the Delhi assembly elections.

The fact is that the Muslim community is under attack in Delhi. The RSS-BJP and Bajrang Dal hate-mongers and fascist cadres are targeting Muslim protestors in a blatant attempt to silence the community and stop them from protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

The writer is a freelance journalist.