By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
26th January 2021 was a day many of us would like to forget but the chaos and violence on streets of Delhi and Red Fort that the whole nation witnessed on their television sets is something that will be difficult to forget. The farmer’s movement that was going peaceful for the last two months took on a violent turn and the government that should have defended the national capital, abandoned it a second time to anarchy and chaos.
Sympathies that the farmer’s movement gained during its peaceful days evaporated as soon as the tractor march took on a violent form. It was a great lapse by Farmer leaders to think that Lakhs of people can be controlled and many are questioning the mischievous intentions of some Farmer groups who openly declared that they won’t follow the agreed-upon route for tractor parade. Hoisting a religious flag on the Red Fort, burglary and mayhem in its premises did not aid any farmer’s cause. The protest and protesting farmers did not belong to one religious community, the issues in question were strictly social and economic in nature but the farmer’s groups should have anticipated that some extremist groups from Punjab will try to give it a communal color. They themselves maligned their cause and negotiating with the government from this point onward will be an uphill task. They cannot win if they’ll lose the sympathy of their countrymen. Though, after the emotional outburst of Rakesh Tikait many farmers have turned up from UP and Haryana to support the cause but this support will wane too if things turn sour from here.
The government on the other hand had not done praise-worthy work either. Monuments of national significance on days of national importance such as republic Day should have been handed over to the army for security. Free run was given to a violent mob and a minuscule police force was no match for rioters who were armed to the teeth. Last year, during the Delhi riots, CAA, and NRC protests too Delhi Police failed to do its job at many levels but on 26th January, there weren’t enough numbers to defend the national capital. It was a complete lapse of security and intelligence which was reaffirmed by a bomb blast near the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, two days ago, in a high-security zone on a day when beating the retreat ceremony was being performed less than two kilometers away. Home Ministry should answer on the state of affairs but then again accountability has become a thing of the past. Registering cases against journalists and opposition will only add to embarrassment but the thing is that our politicians do not feel embarrassed anymore. Suppressing the press will not hide incompetence. Jailing journalists for asking questions is no bravery but then again politicians’ and their followers’ courage are only limited to Twitter these days.