On Monday, while addressing an election rally in the run up to Delhi elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi openly made statements against people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
“Be it Seelampur, Jamia or Shaheen Bagh, protests have been on for several days now. Is this just a coincidence? No, it is an experiment. It is a political design to break-up the unity of the nation,” said Modi squarely targeting protesters and painting their interests to be opposite of national interests.
Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar called Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal a terrorist. Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, Javadekar asked, “Kejriwal is acting all innocent now, asking if he is a terrorist. But there is enough evidence to prove that he is a terrorist. Didn’t he self-identify as an anarchist? How different is that from being a terrorist?”
Earlier Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath had also allegedly stated that those who supported terrorists were the ones who were staging a protest at Shaheen Bagh and raising slogans of ‘azaadi’. Meanwhile, BJP leader Kapil Mishra too once again made a contentious remark when he said that the AAP should be renamed to ‘Muslim League’ and accused them of doing ‘Jinnah politics’. Kapil Mishra had been banned by the EC from campaigning for the elections for 48 hours after he had said that Delhi would witness India v/s Pakistan on February 8, the day of the assembly elections.
These statements are also disturbing, as they come in wake of back-to-back armed attacks on protesters at these locations. On January 30, a youth who is said to be a minor, opened fire at protesters who were planning to march from Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMIU) to Raj Ghat on Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary. One young man was injured in the firing. However, the Hindu Mahasabha sprung to the gunman’s defense saying they would not only felicitate him, but also bear his legal expenses. In another incident on February 2, two gunmen opened fire outside gate number 5. Luckily the men only shot in the air and no one was injured, but it is clear that their intention was to spread fear. They are yet to be nabbed and remain at large.
Earlier there were two separate incidents involving gunmen at Shaheen Bagh, the location of a sit-in protest by women. In the first instance a man brandished a firearm but was quickly subdued by bystanders before he could open fire. In the second, yet another gunman opened fire after making deeply communal statements. This man identified as Kapil was taken into police custody, and luckily nobody was injured in the incident.
It is noteworthy, that these instances of gun related violence all began after BJP leader Anurag Thakur gave a virtual clarion call to arms encouraging people attending his election rally to “shoot the traitors”. What is truly chilling though is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s complete silence on the issue. He is yet to utter one word condemning the violence, something that could be viewed by some as a tacit act of complicity.