Protesting Farmers Face Gujarat Model of Violence in Delhi

Indian farmers protesting at Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh (UP) on January 29, 2021. Photo: Swaraj Abhiyan
Indian farmers protesting at Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh (UP) on January 29, 2021. Photo: Swaraj Abhiyan

The peaceful protesters complain that the Modi government is using Modi’s Gujarat model of violence to harm protesters – most of whom are Sikhs, a minority community in India.

By Rakesh Raman

As hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers have been protesting on the outskirts of India’s capital New Delhi for the past 2 months, they complain that the government is surreptitiously using violence to torpedo their agitation.

After unleashing police brutality on farmers who were sitting on a protest site in Ghazipur, the protesters say the local government of Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath sent local goons to attack them.

Known for his hostile tendencies, Adityanath is a close associate of India’s Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi who has introduced new farm laws against which the farmers are protesting.

“In every major war, there is a battle that turns everything around. In this farmers’ war, the battle at Ghazipur turns everything around. This will be Waterloo for Yogi and Modi,” said a farmer leader Yogendra Yadav.

He added that the people who are attacking the protesters are not locals as it is being claimed by the administration, but these are the goons of Modi’s and Yogi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and their militant outfit Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

It is alleged that in order to disrupt the farmers’ peaceful protest at different sites around Delhi, the Modi government is sending mercenaries to attack farmers and their families including women and children.

It is often seen that when attacks take place on peaceful protesters, Delhi Police – which is one of the most unprofessional and unscrupulous police forces – does not take action to stop the attackers who mostly belong to the ruling party BJP.

Earlier, in a sensational claim, the farmers had said on January 22 that they have captured a man trained by the police to incite violence at the protest site and kill farm leaders ahead of the tractor rally that they were planning to organize on India’s Republic Day, January 26.

According to a January 23 report by NDTV news site, the captured man was part of a 10-member team trained to commit violence and assassinate farm leaders to derail the planned tractor march and the ongoing protests by farmers.

But when that conspiracy did not work, farmers allege that the Modi government used Delhi Police and local criminals to commit violence in order to defame their genuine protest. Government-backed police and security forces fired tear gas shells on the procession of farmers who were entering Delhi to celebrate Republic Day on January 26.

There were also reports of policemen beating unarmed farmers with batons when the farmers tried to break police barricades to enter Delhi. Earlier, Delhi Police had reluctantly allowed the farmers to hold their tractor rally on a limited route in the capital.

Farmers from different states of India – but mainly from Punjab – have been protesting against the new farm laws being imposed by the Modi government. Farmers believe that these laws will deprive them of their farming rights and they will lose their lands which will be grabbed by Modi’s capitalist friends.

While farmers have been urging the Modi government to withdraw these laws, the government has flatly refused to accept farmers’ demands. Instead of holding constructive talks with the aggrieved farmers, the Modi government has been using cheap political gimmicks to discredit the farmers and their leaders.

The government functionaries have been baselessly labeling the farmers as anti-nationals and linking them with terrorist activities. Although the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is supposed to deal with terror-related crimes, the Modi government has unleashed this Central agency to silence farm leaders and people who support farm protests.

Earlier, the government had used brute force to block the entry of farmers into Delhi. As a result, the farmers decided to sit at the borders of the national capital. Since the farmers were again trying to enter Delhi to hold their tractor march on the Republic Day, the government blocked their entry by using state violence.

The peaceful protesters say that the Modi government is using Modi’s Gujarat model of violence to harm protesters – most of whom are Sikhs, a minority community in India. In the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, while about 2,000 Muslims were murdered, there were incidents of rape, robbery, and widespread destruction of property affecting Muslims, another minority community.

It was alleged that the killings were executed at the behest of Modi who was then the chief minister of Gujarat and his party colleague Amit Shah – who is now the Home Minister of India – was an accomplice in this alleged mass murder in Gujarat.

Later, it is alleged that Modi and Shah used the same Gujarat model of killings in the February 2020 violence that took place in Delhi to derail the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (or CAA). At least 50 people – mostly Muslims were murdered by the mobs believed to be led by Delhi Police – which works under Home Minister Amit Shah.

As serious questions are being raised about the integrity of investigations being carried out by Delhi Police into February communal violence that took place in Delhi, a group of former judges and civil servants has decided to hold an independent probe.

Since Modi and Shah are not able to control the increasing number of protests against them, they are terrorizing the protesters by using raw violence against them – either through the complicit police or local gangsters.

It is being seen that Modi and Shah often use their favorite template of violence to silence their critics. As local goons in Delhi are attacking the protesting farmers and their families with stones and sticks, they are repeating a similar form of violence that took place last year.

Nearly 50 goons with their faces covered had entered the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus in Delhi last year to attack students and teachers with batons and stones.

It is largely believed that the attack was backed by Modi and Shah because the JNU students were leading a nationwide protest against the new discriminatory citizenship laws announced by the government. The criminals were not punished.

Now, the protesting farmers complain that they are being targeted with the Gujarat pogrom model of Modi and Shah – who have a controversial record. In his public address at a protest site, a farmer leader alleged that if violence takes place against them, Modi, Shah, and RSS will be responsible for it.

Meanwhile, the global leaders and UN agencies are condemning Modi and his government for increasing human rights violations and crimes against humanity being committed in India.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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