By Pillai Vishnu:
In the span of less than a month, our country has experienced two agitations. In one of them, some students (maybe not) were chanting objectionable slogans. No violence, no destruction of public property (or private). Just screaming. Plain screaming.
The other one was the agitation for Jat reservations in government jobs. One may look at it as an extension of casteism and it gave a chance to politicians to further indulge in vote bank politics. In this agitation, they didn’t just scream, but destroyed public property, stopped public transport (road and rail), and even disrupted the water supply. They continue to attempt to do so. So uncontrollable was the situation that the army had to be brought in.
Now, I want you to see the contrasting reactions by our government to these two agitations. In the Jawaharlal Nehru University crisis, the students were branded traitors, terrorists, and anti-nationals. Their students’ union president was arrested on charges of sedition, for which it seems there is little supporting evidence. The Home Minister himself says they have ties to terrorists (presumably, his source is a tweet from a fake twitter account of Hafeez Saeed. I hope not). Kahnaiya Kumar was manhandled in the court premises, journalists were beaten by ‘nationalist’ lawyers. The family of the some of the students who have been charged are being threatened with rape and murder. A situation where some students had to go underground has been created. For this, we may also thank some sections of media who played judge, jury and executioner so they can boast of high TRPs!
On the other hand, there are the people that rose up in revolt. Their actions might take India down the path of a more strongly entrenched casteism. These people have disrupted the normal life of the rest of the people. They’ve cut water supply for a section of Delhi and brought the country to the verge of civil war. Some were killed, many were injured, and women were raped.
As far as I know, no one has been charged with sedition for this agitation. None of the agitators were held and none of the ‘nationalist’ lawyers care about this. What is most disappointing is that the government has gone on their knees and assured the Jats that they will get their reservation. These protestors have been assured their problem will be discussed in the legislature and they would be given their quota.
In one case, the government is on the offensive. It is aggressively defending its actions in the JNU row. But what they actually did is that they used a sledgehammer to kill a small fly on the wall.
The reservation protestors, on the other hand, made a Syria out of Haryana. One only had to see the visuals on TV of burning vehicles, mass scale destruction of public and private property to believe that.
The fact that the government’s actions differ so much on these two issues makes me wonder if it is violence and muscle power that the government values? Do you need to be a bully to make the government succumb to your demands? Did the government come down so hard on the JNU students only because they are ‘just students’? By behaving this way, is the government condoning violence?
I’ve tried to put facts about these two situations side by side to show you the contrast between the two agitations and how our government and society responded to both.
You decide which was peaceful and which was not. You decide which was more mature and which was less. You decide if the government values the youth in this country based on their reaction to these incidents. You decide if the ‘nationalistic’ lawyers are selective (because helpless students are so much easier as targets). You decide who should be called traitors, anti-nationals and terrorists.