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Gandhian Laathi Emerges as Loser in AAP-BJP Tussle

Rakesh Manchanda for BeyondHeadlines

Recent street protest of AAP-BJP has one clear qualified winner – Laathi cantered Political life style. Battle lines for Lok Sabha election have emerged on 5th March 2014 day of declaration of Code of Conduct by the Election Commission. The flash point is Gujarat Police halting Arvind Kejriwal four-day tour of the state to expose BJP’s PM nominee Narendra Modi’s claim of ‘liquor free’ developing model state. This illegal detention caused massive AAP protests outside BJP ‘model’ offices.

To help make the situation peaceful and to see such hate stories do not dominate every minute the public space, we need to understand as to why there is no limit to tolerance. Why there is no serious organized counseling of political activists before the ‘dharna’ and protest starts.

To understand the role of volunteers in such situations allow me to revisit history of Pre-Independent India.

What happened at Chauri Chaura 19 miles away from Gorakhpur on 5th February 1922? Around this day the Public anger was that Police was protecting the liquor shops business. Liquor was targeted for men who earn drink and do not participate in Freedom Movement. Instead of 200 people that approx. 2000 people got angry and gathered. Anti-Liquor lobby as new agenda took over the Non Cooperative Movement.

Causality score card of civilians-Police clashes? Protesters killed in police firing were three and several injured. Result? Police Station in Chauri Chaura was set on fire and 22 Indian Policemen were trapped and burned alive.

Awareness and indiscipline of unorganized protesters:

In India, today, a law enforcing mechanism with a danda (baton) is expected to deliver. Those who are weak and fear use the danda. Nothing has changed since Chaura Chauri incident and error. People led by Political Parties continue to protest against police and competitive political atrocities. All claim to follow Mahatma and his preaching.

During religious clashes both BJP-Congress are found attacking the poor people for political gains. Sample a BJP young spokesperson Nalin Kohli who is caught in camera with a Laathi during the AAP-BJP Delhi clash. He shamefully ‘self certified’ to the media and Police that carrying a laathi during clashes is like copying Gandhian walking stick. Political parties who conduct ‘laathi drills’ under the hidden mask of culture need to rethink. In Lucknow, AAP-BJP clashed laathi drills were demonstrated and many are now in hospital and in jail.

MK Gandhi in the past was deeply hurt as he felt the Congress and Khilafat Movement had not educated the volunteers properly. What was missed is that the local leaders allowed the Mohalla Sabha which wanted the liquor shops to get closed to dominate the anger. Congress called out Non Cooperative Movement and Mahatma was arrested and sentenced 6 years jail with a delay to freedom of India by at least five years. Congress had no plans to improve the Sevak Dal or volunteers’ response where the Hindu Maha Sabha volunteers also participated on few issues.

Kejriwal was apparently stopped and delayed for unfair questions by Gujarat Police about the number of vehicles in his convoy, and over a possible violation of the model code of conduct. The bigger question in Police Station remains when there is no AAP Jhadoo declared candidate in that place how can Gujarat Police act in such a false excuse. Late reports say that there was a meeting in Kharoi-Gujarat but a Modi supporter with a black flag hurled a stone at his car, smashing its windscreen.

AAP Gandhian followers today – What is New?

Modern Gandhi Crusaders today are different. Protest against Police is much more articulated and clever with a non violence tool. Arvind Kejriwal has some guts to at least admit errors and say sorry for clashes.

AAP 49 day Government had the courage to start by Police-Police Engagement in Delhi. Ex-CM had guts to invite the honest police persons to resign and join the movement against corruption which was beyond imagination during Pre-Independence Movement. A reward for Police martyrs of Re one crore instead of usual Rs.5 lakh for fighting terrorist is also a different reforming trajectory when it was assumed that all policemen are corrupt.

Modern Gandhi Crusaders today are different. Protest against Police at times is much more articulated and clever with non violence.

Today AAP team unlike Modi team has courage to a modest start by Police-Police Engagement in Delhi. Ex-CM had guts to invite the honest police persons to resign and join the movement against corruption which was beyond imagination during Pre-Independence Movement.

Possible Solutions:

Strong effective laws for better police- Politicians code of conduct if delivered in time can also help. To ensure fewer conflicts Swaraj bill with a Mohalla Samitti is must. If laws are applied correctly then fast justice can help generate more confidence and more jobs.

Only constructive participation of people, more jobs and effective laws with speed justice can stop Laathi Politics during Protest.

My appeal to all Gandhian followers and my friends is to come together and help build Mohalla Samitti first. Only peoples scientifically pooling at Mohalla level can help choose whether to have a `dava` or `daru ki dookan`(medicine or liquor shop ) in the market.

Till then the ineffective audience must pray to close down daru, ink, pepper spray, laathis, shoes, hawai chappals (flip flops) to overcome this challenge.

Suggest to me a safer peaceful route then a pending Swaraj Bill please?

[Views expressed are personal; may not necessarily reflect editorial policy.]

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