Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory in the national elections will see India’s soul “lost to a dark politics”, and this is bad news for the country and the world, British newspaper The Guardian said in an editorial on Thursday. The editorial said Modi had threatened “independent India’s most precious facet: a functioning multi-party democracy”.
The newspaper’s criticism of Modi noted that he is a “divisive figure” but “undoubtedly a charismatic campaigner”, who “deployed with terrible effect false claims and partisan facts”. The Congress and the Nehru–Gandhi family, meanwhile, will have to “seriously rethink” how to defeat him, the editorial said.
The editorial said the Hindu nationalism movement that Modi is part of is changing India for the worse, with its focus on upper-caste Hindus, pro-corporate economic growth, cultural conservatism, “intensified” misogyny, and a “firm grip on the instruments of state power”.
The article made remarks about Indian Muslims being “political orphans”, their declining seat share in Parliament, and how Hindutva views them as second-class citizens. It said Modi had recklessly taken India and Pakistan close to war earlier this year.
But Modi’s victory, despite a “spluttering economy”, should perhaps not be surprising, the editorial said, citing a 2017 survey that showed that India had the greatest support for autocratic rule.
About the Bharatiya Janata Party, the newspaper said the party “pays lip service to reducing the yawning inequalities that disfigure India”, and the role of caste and religious conflict in India’s party system suits the outfit. The Opposition, meanwhile, needs to run a “distinctive campaign on an egalitarian platform”, and replace identity-based fights with “political competition over how to benefit all Indians”, the editorial said. “That will require an Opposition in India far savvier and more in touch with the country’s poor than exists today,” it said.
Pankaj Mishra in The New York Times
In an article for The New York Times, journalist and author Pankaj Mishranoted how Modi’s “raw wisdom” had made India suffer for five years, proving him to be “dangerously incompetent”. He wrote about threats to minorities and lower-caste Hindus, as well as dissenting journalists and women. Mishra said that during Modi’s rule, India had witnessed a “savage assault on not just democratic institutions and rational discourse but also ordinary human decency”.
In the article titled “How Narendra Modi Seduced India With Envy and Hate”, Mishra wrote that voters had chosen overwhelmingly to “prolong this nightmare”. “The sources of Mr. Modi’s impregnable charisma seem more mysterious when you consider that he failed completely to realize his central promises of the 2014 election: jobs and national security,” Mishra said.
The writer also said that corporate-owned media had “fervently built up Modi as India’s saviour”.“Since 2014, Mr. Modi’s near-novelistic ability to create irresistible fictions has been steadily enhanced by India’s troll-dominated social media as well as cravenly sycophantic newspapers and television channels,” said the author of the book Age of Anger. He added that the Opposition was right to suggest that the Election Commission had been “shamelessly partisan”.
Mishra said Modi had exploited the “long dormant rage” against India’s “self-perpetuating post-colonial rulers”, noting how previous governments had left “no possibility of dialogue with a metropolitan ruling class of...Godlike aloofness, which had cruelly stranded us in history while itself moving serenely toward convergence with the prosperous West”.
Meanwhile, satirical website The Onion also had a take on Modi’s huge victory. The Onion put up a photo of Modi accompanied with the headline, “India Continues Surge Towards Status as First-world Nation by Reelecting Racist Right-wing Authoritarian”.
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New Delhi: A head constable was among four people killed and at least 50 others, including several paramilitary and Delhi Police personnel, were injured as violence spiralled over the amended citizenship law in northeast Delhi, turning it into a battlefield on Monday with frenzied protesters torching houses, shops, vehicles and a petrol pump, and hurling stones.
This is the second day of clashes in the city where US President Donald Trump arrived on Monday evening on the main leg of his India visit.
Police fired tear gas shells and also resorted to lathicharge as clashes broke out between pro and anti CAA groups at Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Chandbagh, Khureji Khas and Bhajanpura. Security personnel conducted flag marches and prohibitory orders were clamped to bring the situation under control.
However, sporadic clashes continued late into the night in Maujpur and other areas.
Ratan Lal (42), a head constable attached to the office of the ACP Gokalpuri, died after he sustained injuries during stone pelting at Gokalpuri.
Three other civilian succumbed to injuries in the clashes, a Delhi government official said, adding 50 people with injuries had come to hospital for treatment.
At least 11 police personnel, including Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Shahdara, Amit Sharma and ACP (Gokalpuri) Anuj Kumar were injured while trying to quell the protests. Two CRPF police personnel were also injured, sources said.
Government sources said the violence in the national capital appears to have been "orchestrated" by some for publicity as it comes at a time when Trump is visiting the country. They said Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik was stationed at the police control room and closely monitoring the situation.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla told reporters the situation in the national capital was fully under control and sufficient forces were deployed on the ground. Officials said at least eight companies (100 personnel each) of central armed police were present on the ground, besides the Delhi Police.
However, Delhi minister and Babarpur MLA Gopal Rai tweeted that rioting was continuing at night in his constituency.
"There is an atmosphere of terror in Babarpur, rioters are roaming and setting fire but there is no police force. I am calling the police commissioner Amulya Patnaik but he is not receiving his call. I urge Delhi LG and Home Minister to immediately deploy police force," Sisodia tweeted at around 10 pm.
Delhi government ordered closure of all private and government schools in Northeast Delhi district will remain closed on Tuesday in the wake of the violence.
The violence-affected areas witnessed several rounds of stone-pelting from pro and anti-CAA protestors. The roads were strewn with bricks, stones and glass shards.
In Maujpur, pro and anti-CAA protesters indulged in stone pelting and at least three vehicles were torched. Even closed shops were vandalised. At least one house was set on fire and plumes of smoke bellowed from the balcony.
A protestor fired multiple rounds in air as a policeman was seen trying to stop him. The man is yet to be identified.
Pro-CAA protestors were also seen gheraoing and assaulting a man at Maujpur. Blood was oozing from his head, while some of the attackers raised provocative slogans.
A petrol pump and two school buses were torched at Bhajanpura-Yamuna Vihar border during the rampage by the protestors.
Police chased and hit at least four young men with batons near a footbridge on one side of the road, where dozens of personnel were deployed in anti-riot gear, a PTI reporter witnessed.
At least half a dozen youths were also picked up in a truck by the police.
Another identified man was chased down and assaulted as he ran to escape the mob on an intersection under the Gokulpuri flyover at around 6.30 pm.
Police have imposed section 144 of the CrPC, which prohibits assembly of four or more people, in areas affected by violence in northeast Delhi.
Vehicular traffic remained restricted on road number 59, which leads to Bhajanpura on one side and Ghaziabad via Gokulpuri flyover on the other side, causing inconvenience to commuters and locals, including students.
At Gokalpuri, protestors resorted to stone pelting in which Head Constable Ratan Lal was killed.
At Bhajanpura Chowk, a fire tender was damaged by the protesters after it responded to an emergency call in the area.
There were many who were caught in the crossfire.
"I don't know how are we going to go back home now," a woman hawker, standing along with a fellow hawker at C Block Yamuna Vihar bus stand, wondered as they waited for a DTC bus.
A 20-year-old man carrying a helmet said he had to leave his motorcycle in Gokulpuri as he tried to make his way to Mustafabad but was stuck at barricades put by the police.
"My sister works there and she is calling me repeatedly, asking me to come and take her home in this situation. I am unable to find a way to reach her," the man, visibly worried,
A family from Aligarh district in Uttar Pradesh which had come to Rohini for a member's treatment was also left stranded.
"Five of us, including two women, had come here in the morning. Rest four are still at the hospital in Rohini and I had come here for some work. Now I am waiting for the violence to end so that I can go pick them up and we all can return home," a man, who identified himself as Abhishek Thakur, said as he sat on a pavement with his hatchback parked near Dayalpur police station.
Violence had occurred on Sunday also over the amended citizenship law near Jaffrabad over blocking of the road by anti-CAA protesters , while similar sit-ins were launched in several other parts of the national capital including Hauz Rani.
The situation had escalated after BJP leader Kapil Mishra called a gathering on Sunday. Mishra demanded that police remove the anti-CAA protestors within three days.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Centre to restore law and order in the national capital. Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal said he has instructed Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to ensure the situation is brought under control.
"Very distressing news regarding disturbance of peace and harmony in parts of Delhi coming in. I sincerely urge Hon'ble LG n Hon'ble Union Home Minister to restore law and order n ensure that peace and harmony is maintained. Nobody should be allowed to orchestrate flagrations (sic)," Kejriwal tweeted.
In a tweet, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said all internal exams scheduled for Tuesday in schools in northeast Delhi will not be held and he will speak to Union HRD Minister R P Nishank on the issue of postponing the Board exam in this district.
Taking to Twitter, Baijal said, "Instructed @DelhiPolice and @CPDelhi to ensure that law and order is maintained in North East Delhi. The situation is being closely monitored. I urge everyone to exercise restraint for maintenance of peace and harmony."
Congress president Sonia Gandhi appealed to the people of Delhi to maintain communal harmony and defeat "ill-intentioned" forces that seek to divide the country on the basis of religion.
Expressing deep condolences over the death of head constable Rattan Lal, Gandhi also expressed solidarity with his family.
"There can be no space for violence in the land of Mahatma Gandhi, nor can there be any place in the country for forces that seek to impose their communal and divisive ideology on the people," the Congress leader said in a statement.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi condemned the violence in Delhi and urged people to show restraint, compassion and understanding irrespective of the provocation.
He said peaceful protests are a sign of a healthy democracy, but violence can never be justified.
"The violence today in Delhi is disturbing and must be unequivocally condemned. Peaceful protests are a sign of a healthy democracy, but violence can never be justified. I urge the citizens of Delhi to show restraint, compassion and understanding no matter what the provocation," Gandhi tweeted.
BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said the death of a Delhi Police head constable was a "ploy" to embarrass India during Trump's visit and likened it to the massacre of Sikhs in Chattisinghpura in 2000 during the then US president Bill Clinton's trip to the country.
"Shocked to hear the death of HC Sh Ratanlal in a brutal & barbaric manner. This reminds me of massacre of Sikhs in Chattisinghpura during Clinton's visit. Incidents change but anti India forces remain the same. Ploy to embarrass India, Request all to remain calm & maintain peace," she said in a tweet.
The Delhi Metro has closed entry and exit at the Jaffrabad, Maujpur-Babarpur, Shiv Vihar, Gokulpuri, Johri Enclave stations as violence prevailed in the area. The entry and exit of Central Secretariat, Patel Chowk and Udyog Bhawan were shut for nearly an hour.