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Freedom Politics

A peek into the right-wing’s playbook of hate

How supremacist forces create bogeymen and perpetuate a climate of fear

Sabrangindia 21 Dec 2019

CAA
Image Courtesy:thehindu.com

The ruling regime has gone into an overdrive to create a fear psychosis in a bid to retain the fast dwindling support for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Just a few days ago Army Chief Bipin Rawat said that tensions could escalate along the border, then came news of an imminent threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s life, and now media houses enjoying the regime’s patronage are busy spinning the yarn that terrorists have entered Delhi amidst anti-CAA protests.  

Add to this the unprecedented internet shut-downs, the cutting of transport facilities as seen during the strategic shut-down of the Delhi Metro, and the regime’s insidious motives and modus operandi become clearer. But all of this flows from an old strategy that involves a multipronged approach to capturing public imagination… after all, in politics, it is all about the optics. Hate needs an audience and the regime’s well-oiled public relations machinery, that includes both, official and unofficial channels, ensures that the key messages get delivered and amplified adequately. Let us take a deeper look into this.

The regime’s pet ploys

But how exactly does the present regime employ all resources at its disposal to ensure its nefarious ploys always meet with success. Well, a pattern has been emerging there as well.

Infiltration

Recently, a member of the local BJP unit was caught with his cronies wearing skull caps and throwing stones at trains in West Bengal. It is obvious that they were engaging in violence pretending to be Muslims in a bid to defame and demonise the community. There are similar reports of “unknown people” infiltrating large groups of protesters in places like Aligarh and escalating violence against authorities, thereby allowing the police to justify a brutal retaliation.

In fact, this took a bizarre turn when a person with ABVP affiliation was seen lathi-charging protesters during the clashes at and around Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMIU) in Delhi. It is also noteworthy that in all such instances, a heavily armed police force and often even paramilitary and riot police forces are already on standby.

Unchecked Brutality

The excesses committed against students who were by-and-large peaceful and unarmed show a new low to which the administration is willing to stoop. Sam Stafford, a 16-year-old musician was shot dead even as he was dispersing the protest. His actions in no way merited any kind of violence. At the Delhi Gate protest on Friday, an eight-year-old child was found covered in blood. Police reportedly got into hostels at Guwahati’s Cotton University, Delhi’s JMIU and dragged out students after beating them with batons. Students studying in the library were smoked out by the police using tear gas shells.

There are also allegations of female students being sexually molested in the dark in JMUI hostels, after lights were allegedly purposely turned off to prevent the assault on female students from being recorded on CCTV cameras. This is clearly not just a disproportionate use of violence but also a blatant abuse of power.

Strategic shut-down of transport

This was seen recently in Delhi. Every time there was a protest, Metro services would be diverted from popular protest spots. On Thursday morning, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation sited security concerns behind a series of station shut downs. According to tweets from their official twitter handle, the following stations were shut down completely: Jamia Millia Islamia, Jasola Vihar Shaheen Bagh, Munirka, Lal Quila, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, Vishwavidyalaya, Patel Chowk, Lok Kalyan Marg, Udyog Bhawan, ITO, Pragati Maidan, Barakhamba and Khan Market

It is noteworthy that all these stations are either near areas where protests have previously taken place or are convenient centrally located popular places where demonstrators often gather to hold public meetings. Given how peaceful protest is a democratic right of citizens, it appears that the present regime is showing proto-fascist inclinations in a bid to control dissent.

Internet shut-down

This is new territory. Internet has not yet been designated a basic human necessity like water and electricity in India. According to InternetShutdowns.in India has already shut down internet services 101 times in 2019 alone! The number was a whopping 134 in 2018! Compare this to 3 shut-downs in 2012 and 5 in 2013.  

At the time of going to press internet services had been suspended in many parts of Uttar Pradesh. As many as 18 districts are facing a complete shut-down. These are Hapur, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Muzzafarnagar, Shamli, Lucknow, Prayagraj, Unnao, Agra, Sultanpur, Mau, Bagpat, Meerut, Bulandshahr, Azamgarh, Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Pilibhit. Mangalore and parts of Dakshin Kannada district are also still facing a 48-hour shut-down starting December 19.

Internet services were also allegedly temporarily suspended in some parts of Delhi on December 19 from 9 AM to 1 PM. These include Walled city areas of North and Central districts, Mandi House, Seelampur, Jaffarbad and Mustafabad, Jamia Nagar and Shaeen Bagh, Bawana.

In west Bengal, internet services were shut-down on December 15 citing law and order concerns in Uttar Dinajpur, Malda, Murshidabad, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and parts of South 24 Parganas districts. In most places, services are said to have been restored, but remain sluggish.

Similarly, though services are said to have been restored in the North East, where Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura have seen some of the strongest anti-CAA protests, many of these areas are still struggling with connectivity.

But what does an internet shut-down accomplish?

The world over, most pro-democracy protests are being spearheaded by the youth who use social media to communicate. They share videos and images from the ground to counter the false narrative being peddled by the regimes lap dogs in traditional media and news publications.

The objective is to cut-off access to social media like Facebook and Twitter to prevent people from finding out from common people about the prevailing situation in their areas. It also prevents protesters from uploading videos and images of police brutality. All this is done under the guise of containing harmful rumours and the vapidly worded and intentionally ambiguous ‘law and order concerns’.

Whatsapp has proved to be a double-edged sword. One would remember the Azad Maidan riots where there was a huge mobilization of protesters using morphed images of atrocities against Rohingyas. Similarly, fake news forwards on Whatsapp that have been dubbed Whatsapp University have done tremendous damage to pro-democracy movements. These forwards often show leaders of the movement as traitors and the inflammatory content can incite and even escalate violence by pitting the public against each other… a bit like the monkey walking away with the cake as two cats fight over it. This is still a grey area, but factchecking websites often come to the rescue. However, in case of an internet shut-down, people are cut-off from these very fact-checking websites as well.

But there is another impact of internet shut-downs that could prove to be a unifier and help build momentum against the practice. Internet shutdowns affect banking, e-commerce and the very purchasing power of people who have not only been forced to reduce their cash dependence but also become dependent on digital transactions. This is something that also affects the privileged classes and could be the trigger that gets them to join forces with the subalterns against a regime that has hitherto exploited the hegemony, offering preferential treatment to those having means, in a bid to keep them out of the fight.

So, how does this feed into the larger agenda of a proto-fascist regime? How real are the fears of impending doom and possible genocide?

Ten stages of genocide

Dr. Gregory Stanton, founder of Genocide Watch, created the world famous “Ten-Stages of Genocide”. These are as follows:

·        The first stage was “classification” of “us versus them”.

·        The second stage, “symbolization”, named the victims as “foreigner”.

·        The third stage, “discrimination”, “classified [the victims] out of the group accepted for citizenship” so that they had no “human rights or civil rights of citizens” and were “discriminated against legally”.

·        The fourth stage, dehumanization, “is when the genocidal spiral begins to go downwards. You classify the others as somehow worse than you. You give them names like ‘terrorists’, or even names of animals, start referring to them as a cancer in the body politic, you talk about them as a disease that must be somehow dealt with.”

·        The fifth stage was creating an “organization” to commit the genocide: the role played by the “Indian army in Kashmir and the census takers in Assam”.

·        The sixth stage was “polarization”, which is achieved by propaganda.

·        The seventh stage was “preparation”

·        The eighth “persecution”, where Assam and Kashmir currently were.

·        The ninth stage is “extermination” and;

·        The tenth stage is “denial”.

Interestingly, while addressing a Congressional briefing titled Ground Reports on Kashmir and NRC in Washington D.C on December 12 Dr. Stanton said, “Preparation for a genocide is definitely under way in India.” He said that persecution of Muslims in Assam and Kashmir “is the stage just before genocide,” adding, “The next stage is extermination — that’s what we call a genocide.”

Related:

Gov’t strategically shutting down Delhi metro stations to control anti-CAA protesters?
Police attacks peaceful protesters including women at Delhi Gate
Was Mangalore police shooting to kill ? Multiple videos raise questions
Student has to have his hand amputated following police action: AMU

 

A peek into the right-wing’s playbook of hate

How supremacist forces create bogeymen and perpetuate a climate of fear

CAA
Image Courtesy:thehindu.com

The ruling regime has gone into an overdrive to create a fear psychosis in a bid to retain the fast dwindling support for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Just a few days ago Army Chief Bipin Rawat said that tensions could escalate along the border, then came news of an imminent threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s life, and now media houses enjoying the regime’s patronage are busy spinning the yarn that terrorists have entered Delhi amidst anti-CAA protests.  

Add to this the unprecedented internet shut-downs, the cutting of transport facilities as seen during the strategic shut-down of the Delhi Metro, and the regime’s insidious motives and modus operandi become clearer. But all of this flows from an old strategy that involves a multipronged approach to capturing public imagination… after all, in politics, it is all about the optics. Hate needs an audience and the regime’s well-oiled public relations machinery, that includes both, official and unofficial channels, ensures that the key messages get delivered and amplified adequately. Let us take a deeper look into this.

The regime’s pet ploys

But how exactly does the present regime employ all resources at its disposal to ensure its nefarious ploys always meet with success. Well, a pattern has been emerging there as well.

Infiltration

Recently, a member of the local BJP unit was caught with his cronies wearing skull caps and throwing stones at trains in West Bengal. It is obvious that they were engaging in violence pretending to be Muslims in a bid to defame and demonise the community. There are similar reports of “unknown people” infiltrating large groups of protesters in places like Aligarh and escalating violence against authorities, thereby allowing the police to justify a brutal retaliation.

In fact, this took a bizarre turn when a person with ABVP affiliation was seen lathi-charging protesters during the clashes at and around Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMIU) in Delhi. It is also noteworthy that in all such instances, a heavily armed police force and often even paramilitary and riot police forces are already on standby.

Unchecked Brutality

The excesses committed against students who were by-and-large peaceful and unarmed show a new low to which the administration is willing to stoop. Sam Stafford, a 16-year-old musician was shot dead even as he was dispersing the protest. His actions in no way merited any kind of violence. At the Delhi Gate protest on Friday, an eight-year-old child was found covered in blood. Police reportedly got into hostels at Guwahati’s Cotton University, Delhi’s JMIU and dragged out students after beating them with batons. Students studying in the library were smoked out by the police using tear gas shells.

There are also allegations of female students being sexually molested in the dark in JMUI hostels, after lights were allegedly purposely turned off to prevent the assault on female students from being recorded on CCTV cameras. This is clearly not just a disproportionate use of violence but also a blatant abuse of power.

Strategic shut-down of transport

This was seen recently in Delhi. Every time there was a protest, Metro services would be diverted from popular protest spots. On Thursday morning, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation sited security concerns behind a series of station shut downs. According to tweets from their official twitter handle, the following stations were shut down completely: Jamia Millia Islamia, Jasola Vihar Shaheen Bagh, Munirka, Lal Quila, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, Vishwavidyalaya, Patel Chowk, Lok Kalyan Marg, Udyog Bhawan, ITO, Pragati Maidan, Barakhamba and Khan Market

It is noteworthy that all these stations are either near areas where protests have previously taken place or are convenient centrally located popular places where demonstrators often gather to hold public meetings. Given how peaceful protest is a democratic right of citizens, it appears that the present regime is showing proto-fascist inclinations in a bid to control dissent.

Internet shut-down

This is new territory. Internet has not yet been designated a basic human necessity like water and electricity in India. According to InternetShutdowns.in India has already shut down internet services 101 times in 2019 alone! The number was a whopping 134 in 2018! Compare this to 3 shut-downs in 2012 and 5 in 2013.  

At the time of going to press internet services had been suspended in many parts of Uttar Pradesh. As many as 18 districts are facing a complete shut-down. These are Hapur, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Muzzafarnagar, Shamli, Lucknow, Prayagraj, Unnao, Agra, Sultanpur, Mau, Bagpat, Meerut, Bulandshahr, Azamgarh, Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Pilibhit. Mangalore and parts of Dakshin Kannada district are also still facing a 48-hour shut-down starting December 19.

Internet services were also allegedly temporarily suspended in some parts of Delhi on December 19 from 9 AM to 1 PM. These include Walled city areas of North and Central districts, Mandi House, Seelampur, Jaffarbad and Mustafabad, Jamia Nagar and Shaeen Bagh, Bawana.

In west Bengal, internet services were shut-down on December 15 citing law and order concerns in Uttar Dinajpur, Malda, Murshidabad, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and parts of South 24 Parganas districts. In most places, services are said to have been restored, but remain sluggish.

Similarly, though services are said to have been restored in the North East, where Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura have seen some of the strongest anti-CAA protests, many of these areas are still struggling with connectivity.

But what does an internet shut-down accomplish?

The world over, most pro-democracy protests are being spearheaded by the youth who use social media to communicate. They share videos and images from the ground to counter the false narrative being peddled by the regimes lap dogs in traditional media and news publications.

The objective is to cut-off access to social media like Facebook and Twitter to prevent people from finding out from common people about the prevailing situation in their areas. It also prevents protesters from uploading videos and images of police brutality. All this is done under the guise of containing harmful rumours and the vapidly worded and intentionally ambiguous ‘law and order concerns’.

Whatsapp has proved to be a double-edged sword. One would remember the Azad Maidan riots where there was a huge mobilization of protesters using morphed images of atrocities against Rohingyas. Similarly, fake news forwards on Whatsapp that have been dubbed Whatsapp University have done tremendous damage to pro-democracy movements. These forwards often show leaders of the movement as traitors and the inflammatory content can incite and even escalate violence by pitting the public against each other… a bit like the monkey walking away with the cake as two cats fight over it. This is still a grey area, but factchecking websites often come to the rescue. However, in case of an internet shut-down, people are cut-off from these very fact-checking websites as well.

But there is another impact of internet shut-downs that could prove to be a unifier and help build momentum against the practice. Internet shutdowns affect banking, e-commerce and the very purchasing power of people who have not only been forced to reduce their cash dependence but also become dependent on digital transactions. This is something that also affects the privileged classes and could be the trigger that gets them to join forces with the subalterns against a regime that has hitherto exploited the hegemony, offering preferential treatment to those having means, in a bid to keep them out of the fight.

So, how does this feed into the larger agenda of a proto-fascist regime? How real are the fears of impending doom and possible genocide?

Ten stages of genocide

Dr. Gregory Stanton, founder of Genocide Watch, created the world famous “Ten-Stages of Genocide”. These are as follows:

·        The first stage was “classification” of “us versus them”.

·        The second stage, “symbolization”, named the victims as “foreigner”.

·        The third stage, “discrimination”, “classified [the victims] out of the group accepted for citizenship” so that they had no “human rights or civil rights of citizens” and were “discriminated against legally”.

·        The fourth stage, dehumanization, “is when the genocidal spiral begins to go downwards. You classify the others as somehow worse than you. You give them names like ‘terrorists’, or even names of animals, start referring to them as a cancer in the body politic, you talk about them as a disease that must be somehow dealt with.”

·        The fifth stage was creating an “organization” to commit the genocide: the role played by the “Indian army in Kashmir and the census takers in Assam”.

·        The sixth stage was “polarization”, which is achieved by propaganda.

·        The seventh stage was “preparation”

·        The eighth “persecution”, where Assam and Kashmir currently were.

·        The ninth stage is “extermination” and;

·        The tenth stage is “denial”.

Interestingly, while addressing a Congressional briefing titled Ground Reports on Kashmir and NRC in Washington D.C on December 12 Dr. Stanton said, “Preparation for a genocide is definitely under way in India.” He said that persecution of Muslims in Assam and Kashmir “is the stage just before genocide,” adding, “The next stage is extermination — that’s what we call a genocide.”

Related:

Gov’t strategically shutting down Delhi metro stations to control anti-CAA protesters?
Police attacks peaceful protesters including women at Delhi Gate
Was Mangalore police shooting to kill ? Multiple videos raise questions
Student has to have his hand amputated following police action: AMU

 

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