If the objective behind the sudden escalation in violence on Sunday evening in Delhi and Aligarh by the anti-CAA protesters was to message Trump to return home mid-air, it was not realised. Trump came and wowed India and, in turn, was wowed by the graceful and grand Indian hospitality. It was a spectacular welcome he would remember for a long time. But this is not about Trump. We shall return to his epochal visit to these shores at the end of the two-day visit. What we are concerned about is the sheer audacity of the anti-CAA forces to step up shrill noise on the eve of the Trump visit. As the authorities in Aligarh said, led by a group of women students a determined bid was made on Sunday to create a huge bedlam. The local authorities handled the situation with tact and firmness. Aligarh, the seat of a famous university, has been known to be a communally sensitive city. Umpteenth number of riots have broken out here since Independence. The Aligarh Muslim University instead of playing a sobering influence seems to take a peculiar pride in raising the sectarian flag whenever a sensitive issue comes to the fore. Poison is brewed in Muslim-dominant universities instead of these serving as centers for excellence in education and shared secular values. It is relevant to note that the AMU had played a major role in sowing the seeds of division leading up to the partition of the country. Our secular friends tend to robotically endorse anything emanating from the Mullah-Maulvi quarters given their need for bulk Muslim votes. Unless secular politicians revise their Pavlovian reaction to Muslim separatism, there can be no end to the artificial wall that has come to separate the community from the rest of the people. If the majority community does not assess and analyse every development through the prism of religion, how is it kosher for the largest minority to weigh every development on the iron scales of religion and religion alone? Good citizenry demands an equal weight to rights as well as duties. We cannot have a situation where anti-CAA protesters continue to block for months on end one of the main arteries of the capital city of India and thus putting to daily trouble lakhs of commuters. The Shaheen Bagh syndrome whereby the clever managers of the protest got their women to squat on public roads has no place in a democratic country. To protest peacefully is their right, but to block roads and obstruct the free movement of traffic is a willful obstruction and needs to be cleared with the use of force, that is if gentle persuasion fails. Can you imagine a situation if pro-CAA supporters were to squat on Marine Drive in Mumbai for over two months without the authorities lifting their little finger to remove them? If they do not clear Marine Drive and sit in Azad Maidan as long as they want, they will have to be removed with the use of force. Period. Why cannot something similar be contemplated for Shaheen Bagh and elsewhere where roads are blocked by the anti-CAA warriors.
On Sunday evening, a former AAP MLA, Kapil Mishra, now with the BJP, led a group of pro-CAA supporters to send out a message to the sleeping authorities that unless the blockade of yet another road and a Metro station was lifted in the next three days, he would lead his people to do so himself. Or else, he too would occupy a major arterial road for an indefinite period. Sunday’s clashes in parts of the north-east Delhi between pro-and anti-CAA protesters were followed by fresh trouble on Monday. With Trump scheduled to land in Delhi later in the evening, the objective might have been to steal the focus from his visit, but, the police controlled the situation after a bout of stoning and a few acts of arson and violence. Unfortunately, a pro-CAA supporter, clearly seen in video clips, killed a Delhi Police head constable virtually at point blank from his pistol. This should be unacceptable even by the lax standards of policing that has marked the Shaheen Bagh event from the very beginning. Romanticism about Muslim women sitting on a political protest must yield to a cold-headed assessment about the potential danger to peace and harmony malicious forces acting behind-the-scenes inflict on national unity. Whether you like it or not, Warris Pathan is a truer representative of the minority than any secular politician, Hindu or Muslim. Those who disagree can profit immensely from brushing up their history of the Partition.