The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) got a boost on August 16 as several Shaheen Bagh residents, who were in a massive protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, joined the ranks and files of the ruling party.
In the words of Delhi BJP Chief Adesh Gupta, more than a 100 families from nearby areas of Shaheen Bagh reposed trust, faith and belief in the actions and commitment of honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Due to the sincere efforts of the PM and his party members, the archival Triple Talaq Law was brought to an end through commanding legislation in the Parliament, promising equality, liberty and justice to Muslim women. Moreover, he added, those who support and oppose the CAA and NRC legislation were not wholly against the BJP, as was mistaken by those who saw these protest movements as a hand pick by the Opposition for upping the ante against the policies and schemes of the ruling BJP dispensation at the Centre.
Delhi: Shaheen Bagh social activist Shahzad Ali joins BJP in presence of State BJP President Adesh Gupta & leader Shyam Jaju. Shahzad Ali says, "I have joined BJP to prove wrong those in our community who think BJP is our enemy. We'll sit together with them over CAA concerns." pic.twitter.com/bJyhGp7MMb
— ANI (@ANI) August 16, 2020
The very conduct of the protesting Muslim women in Shaheen Bagh was mocked at and questioned by the activists and cadres of the BJP. They charged these women of working at the behest of the Opposition, as a plot against wanting to unsettle the BJP government at the Centre. The Biryani debate was renewed many a times to break the moral support, strength and confidence of these women engaged in sit-ins at Shaheen Bagh, impacting the lives and livelihood of the ordinary resident of the capital.
The Kalindi Kunj stretch was temporarily shut, as it was hindering the travel of the commuters who travelled on this stretch to and from their respective workplaces. This forced many RWAs in and around Shaheen Bagh to take out a march highlighting their genuine grievances due to the closure of the stretch. The Shaheen Bagh protest movement gradually began to attract a lot of interest and attention from individuals from activism, academia, and the intellectual and literary circles. They became active agents of the movement, seeking urgent response and intervention by the apparatus and agencies of the state.
On the contrary, these individuals were painted as anti-national, anti-conservatives and anti-establishment for their courage to speak the truth against the power as, a month earlier, the Delhi Police had cracked down on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia, creating outrage on the campus that led to a situation of conflict and chaos. These students were equated with those who were strongly raising their dissenting voices against the passage of CAA and NRC then-Bill by the Parliament to fuel the crisis and confusion in the minds and hearts of the people.
Safoora Zargar, a young Jamia research scholar, is still paying the price for speaking up on what she thought was right at the first place and instance, fairly being dismissed by the bandwagon of the far-right nationalists. The CAA and NRC were conceived as a legitimate instrument for stifling and snatching the rights and liberties of the Muslim community and embracing the right’s ideological project of a Hindu Rashtra.
Similar efforts on part of the ruling dispensation were made to popularise, organise and mobilise support for the CAA then-Bill by drawing people’s support for the legislation, thus sowing seeds of doubts in the minds of those who believed CAA to be in the interest of the countrymen. The BJP’s morality stand intertwines with the principles, views, beliefs, customs and codes fulfilling the aspirations of a culturally charged nationalism closely held by the adherents and proponents of the party.
Interestingly, the induction of these joinees within the ranks and file of the ruling BJP will witness how the party functionaries react and respond to their growing unease and disquiet over the CAA legislation, and whether it will turn out to be an eyewash as they might fear punitive legal measures if their name, at all, crops up in the charge sheet.
I believe, before arriving at any consensus or conclusion, I would want to see how this step plays out in the open if not for the CAA or Triple Talaq law if it were to ensure their mainstreaming or marginalisation if not at all for Hindutva. It is now up to the mature Muslim citizenry to carefully choose their positions.