Life In Divisions: Reservation, Violence & Politics

By the Editor:  Siddharth Sehgal

When I came to my hometown Gwalior yesterday there was stillness in the otherwise vibrant city that gave an eerie reminder of the caste violence that the city and its residents witnessed few days ago. Police barricades, rapid action forces, riot gear and what not. It was 6 in the morning and the almost empty road told tale of lawlessness that engulfed this city.

Again for those who don’t know, the strikes and violence that took place in several parts of the country few days ago over the rumor that SC-ST atrocities act and the reservation was going away, took its ugliest form in Gwalior resulting in 8 deaths, arson of shops, properties and vehicles and closure of schools, offices, markets and anything of any significance to day to day lives. Mob of unemployed youths and hooligans were set loose in the city and country side by the political parties. Most were paid few hundred rupees to cause the raucous. Because we have state elections this year, the CM cannot afford the ire of some sections of society in case they were not allowed to vent their anger, so as the word is the Police & Prashasan were told to stand down and let the protesters to themselves so that they can go home after few slogans but as we all saw on the news, things went south. It was a premeditated plan to bring the life to a halt. Police has made arrested, filed FIRs but given the politics and people involved, I doubt the justice will ever be served. Its Chambal after all, it has always been outside law.

After all this happened over the past week and a curfew from 8 pm to 6 am is still being imposed in the city though the internet that was suspended is back online. This entire circus showed the cheap value of life and law in the eyes of certain political groups and individuals but above all it proved that when it comes to the issue of reservation, no party or politician got the guts or the chest for that matter to address the elephant in the room. The violence has deepened the already existing divides in society. We are today more divided than ever and politicians are set to most benefit from this situation. Its always the common man that has to face the grind, its ordinary folks like you and me, general, reserved alike who become fools in this rajneeti.

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