Scores of people have been protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act ever since it was passed in both the houses of the Parliament. Among the protestors, there were people with vested interests who wreaked havoc as they targeted public properties and spread violence. While some states have been able to contain the violence, the others have given a free pass to the mob with West Bengal emerging as the hotbed of violence. In such a precarious situation, Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh has been able to contain the violence which is a commendable feat in itself considering the state’s volatile nature thanks to the years of lawlessness under the rule of Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said that his government will act against those involved in the violence over the amended Citizenship Act by auctioning their property to compensate for the losses. He was quoted as saying, “There is no place for violence in a democracy. In the name of opposing the CAA, the Congress, SP and Left parties have pushed the entire country to fire. There was violence in Lucknow and Sambhal and we will deal with it strictly. All properties of those involved in damaging public assets will be seized and auctioned to compensate for the losses. They have been captured in video and CCTV footage. We will take ”badla” (revenge) on them.”
It is important to note that a few days ago, UP Police registered FIR against 21 students and 500 unnamed persons, after the protest in the campus. The students were taking the protest to city circles- the designated spot for the public meeting. And when the police on duty tried to stop them, the students “pushed them, continued raising slogans against the administration and reached the AMU circle.” According to UP Police, the students “violated Section 144 of IPC and interrupted government officers on duty.” The Yogi government has taken the strongest measures to deal with the ongoing protest (read vandalism) against the amendment in Citizenship Law. There has not been a single incident in the state, where things went out of control in protest against CAA, despite a lot of inflammatory rhetoric used by anti-CAA politicians. One policeman in Aligarh Muslim University placated protesting crowds urging to protest ‘democratically’ and if they do so he would stand with them for as long as they protested as long as it was peaceful.
While UP is largely calm, violent protests have emerged in Delhi and West Bengal thanks to the tacit support received from Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee respectively.
West Bengal has been scalded by escalating violence against the Citizenship Amendment Act, as mobs torched buses, trains and railway stations, set afire government property and blocked roads and railway tracks, disrupting train and vehicular movements. The maximum violence was reported from Murshidabad district and Howrah. A large number of mail, express and passenger trains were cancelled by the South Eastern Railway and Eastern Railway — two important zones of the Indian Railways — which run the services to most parts of the eastern state. At many of the stations, panicky railway employees fled from their posts fearing for their lives. Even in Delhi, where citizen to law enforcement professionals’ ratio is among the highest, the protest in Jamia Nagar turned violent. The protestors, majority of whom were students of Jamia Milia Islamia (A central university), resorted to vandalism- attacked the journalists, destroyed public property-because the police preparations for the event were minimal.
While in Mumbai, Uddhav Thackeray has been trying to show his secular credentials to 10 Janpath as Maharashtra CM had a major brain fade moment as he likened the Jamia Milia Islamia violence with the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly, the Maharashtra CM said, “The manner in which the police entered the campus in Delhi and students were fired on, I was reminded of the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy. Are we creating a Jallianwala Bagh-like situation in this country by trying to scare students.” He did not stop here and seems to have given a subtle justification for the kind of violence that was unleashed by the Jamia protesters. He said, “In a country or a state where the youth are angry, there cannot be peace. The youth is our strength. We will soon be the country with the highest number of youth. Youth power is a bomb and I request the government not to ignite it.”
While the opposition parties resort to playing petty politics, the Yogi government and the UP Police must be applauded for the controlling the law and order situation, that too in a state which used to be infamous for lawlessness.