BJP’s Delhi campaign was not divisive by sanyog or coincidence. That is its prayog or experiment. Which it will take to other elections.
Kitney aadmi thhe—how many were there?
A meme based on this famous monologue from the highly successful film, Sholay (Embers), from the early seventies, started trending when “David” Kejriwal, leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), defeated “Goliath” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi’s recent Assembly elections.
No doubt this election’s result has put paid to the efforts of Home Minister Amit Shah to retain his image as “Chanakya” of Indian politics, at least for now. The result is despite BJP’s desperate attempts to win Delhi, as part of which pulled chief ministers, former chief ministers, cabinet ministers and more than 240 Members of Parliament to campaign in the city. Blame it on the high stakes battle that allegations surfaced that they had distributed cash and liquor ahead of the polls.
The result is for everyone to see.
The most toxic electoral campaign, perhaps ever, in which leaders of the ruling dispensation even provoked violence through their hate speeches, did not work. The BJP’s seat tally rose by merely five and a bloody nose.
Guest Post by Sanjay Kak, for #Notinmyname / Statement from Not In My Name, Delhi
Last evening’s (June 28th) spirited protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, under the banner of Not In My Name, was an autonomous citizens protest against the recent spate of targeted lynchings of Muslims in India – the most recent of 16 year old Junaid, stabbed to death on 23 June 2017 in Delhi (NCR).
For an audience that was estimated to be 3500 strong, the torrential downpour at a little past 8 pm may have rained out a part of the programme. But something remarkable had already been achieved: the evening had washed away, even if temporarily, an almost overwhelming sense of despondency, of hopelessness, and of fear.
Since the Not In My Name protest had announced that the platform was not meant for political parties, and their banners and slogans, the stage saw the marked absence of the speeches (and faces) of routine protest meetings at Jantar Mantar. Rhetoric was displaced by feeling, and it was left to the poets and musicians to carry the sharp political messages of the day. On an evening that was often very emotional, the most difficult moments came when a group of young men from Junaid and Pehlu Khan’s extended families (and residents from their respective villages) came on stage and spoke to the audience.
When the call for a protest meeting went out last Sunday we were hoping that a few hundred people would gather to express their outrage at what is happening around us. For the attacks on Muslims are part of a pattern of incidents that targets Dalits, Adivasis, and other disadvantaged and minority groups across the country. In almost all these incidents the possibilities of justice seem remote, as the families of the victims are dragged into procedures they are ill-equipped to handle. Through all these heinous crimes the Government has maintained a silence, a gesture that is being read as the acquiescence of all Indians.
Not In My Name aimed to break that silence. But the scale and spirit of the protest meeting at Jantar Mantar became amplified many times over, as similar gatherings were spontaneously announced all over the country. As word spread through social media, groups in 19 other locations announced Not In My Name protests, and this phenomenal synergy inevitably drew media attention to all the events, and gave the protest a solidarity and scale that was truly unprecedented – there were at least 4 protests in cities abroad too. (And more protests have been announced for later this week…) The protest meeting ran on the shoulders of a group of volunteers who managed to put together everything in less than four days. No funds were received (or solicited) for the expenses from any political party, NGO, or institution. Instead volunteers worked the crowd and our donation boxes received everything – from Rs 10 coins to currency notes of Rs 2000, and everything in between.
The impact of the Not In My Name protest at Jantar Mantar yesterday only points to the importance of a focused politics to deal with the crisis this country seems to be enveloped by. Less than a day after the protests Prime Minister Modi broke his silence on the matter of lynchings. It could not have been a coincidence: speaking in Ahmedabad he said killing in the name of gau bhakti is unacceptable. But to protect the life of a 16 year old being brutalised in a train needs more than a tweet, and we all wait and watch.
This fight has just begun. In the days to come the exceptional solidarity attracted by the protest in New Delhi will have to become less exceptional, and more everyday.
Sanjay Kak is a filmmaker and writer based in Delhi.
The #NotinMyName protests, which began in a response to a Facebook post uploaded by Delhi filmmaker Saba Dewan, have since taken place in more than twelve cities in India, and also in the UK, USA and Pakistan. More protests, under the #NotinMyName tag, as well as independently of it are being planned by citizens groups, organizations and individuals in many places.
Tomorrow, July 2nd, 2017 will see a sit in at Jantar Mantar from 11 in the morning, at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi called by families, individuals and panchayats from Nuh, Ballabhgarh and Faridabad, they will be joined by students, activists and other individuals.
Cow vigilantes attacked six people, including a 9-year-old girl in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday and fled away with their flock. The vigilantes beat up the nomad community blue and black and the minor girl has suffered multiple fractures when the community was en route to Talwara area…
In yet another chilling instance of self-styled gau rakshaks targeting cattle traders — and mob mentality thriving undeterred — three men transporting buffaloes were attacked by “cow vigilantes” in south Delhi’s Kalkaji late Saturday, a Hindustan Times report said.
In a unique instance of a united initiative, a number of organizations in Rajasthan have come together to protest the lynching of Pehlu Khan and to demand justice in the matter. A large demonstration was recently held in Jaipur, following which many organizations of different political persuasions have come together to call for a three-day national dharna outside the Rajasthan State Assembly from 24-26 April 2017. The organizations which have issued the appeal published below include: Rajasthan Nagrik Manch, PUCL, CPI (M), CPI, NFIW, AIDWA, WRG, Vividha, National Muslim Women’s Welfare Society, BGVS, MKSS, Suchna Evam Rozgar Adhikar Manch, JIH, Dr. Ambedkar Vichar Manch, CDR, AIDMAM, Welfare Party of India, Jan Vichar Manch, Samajwadi Party, JD (U), SIO, SFI, Rajasthan Smagra Sewa Sangh, HRLN, Samta Gyan Vigyan Manch, All India Kisan Sabha, NAPM, WRG, Vividha, SDPI, RUWA, Zari Workers Union and others.
JAIPUR CHALO!! JAIPUR CHALO!!
NATIONAL CALL TO JOIN THE DHARNA IN JAIPUR, RAJASTHAN
DEMANDING JUSTICE IN THE MATTER OF LYNCHING OF PEHLU KHAN AT BEHROR, ALWAR
As you are aware that 55 year old Pehlu Khan a dairy farmer from Nuh, Mewat district in Haryana was lynched by a group of so called Gaurakshaks on NH 8 at Behror, Rajasthan, when he was returning with four others, including his 2 sons, in 2 pick up trucks, after buying a few cows (along with the documents) from the fair in Hatwara, near Jaipur city. At about 6.30pm on the 1st of April, their vehicles were stopped and they were pulled out of their vehicles and beaten up brutally by a mob and later Pehlu Khan succumbed to his injuries on the 3rd of April at Kailash hospital in Behror. Azmat who was critically injured was harassed by the police in the name of investigations, that he too was not given proper treatment and even today he remains seriously sick and in a state of trauma.