Shootings at Jamia Nagar–Would instigators be charged?

Shafeeq M. Mahajir

Society is witnessing collective and individual action, notes Sameer Golwelkar, adding these are invariably debated on social media. He notes actions are born from facts or ideas, are responses to perception, latter in turn rooted in experience and memory. Memory, however, marks the points to which one has already gone, while potential lies beyond those points and needs capacity to visualise what presently is not visible to the census…oops! sorry, senses. Debate: expressions testing divergent contested viewpoints. Today, universities under attack, questioners “anti-national”, and debate is a non-starter.

Actions born of ideas, abstracts, can be moral, neutral or actually immoral. What society as collective finds acceptable is termed moral. Morality, concept in flux, changes over time, over cultures, and constitutional and political realities, what is immoral today being held moral tomorrow, unless morality grounded in religious belief upholds time-tested values, principles and attitudes.

Conditioning also impacts perception of events and therefore, responses. Education enables a person to collect a formidable repertoire of concepts and ideas against the touchstone of which events can be vetted to understand them in context, build realistic perceptions on the basis of which to act. We thus appreciate the value of education and its undeniable contributory role in building a wholesome society accommodative of competing ideas, thoughts, etc., harmonising them facilitating evolution of society as a progressive political grouping looking ahead, building for the future, enabling further evolution of individuals towards attaining full potential. As they say, a chain is as strong as its weakest link. Society can ill afford weak uneducated links that snap under the weight of their own ignorance, groping and floundering in the darkness of empty minds. When dark empty minds exercise power, governance can hardly be enlightened.

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Actions destructive of intellectual freedom and educational excellence need to be crushed as soon as they raise their malevolent heads. Anything that negates education indicates civilisational regression and progress, and heralds the return of dark times. Since everyone claims to want achhe din and bristles at the allegation his actions are retrograde and destructive in nature, actions of individuals as also the thinking underlying those, which necessarily begin as words, again a product of thought, need investigation.

In the context of what a senior political functionary recently said as to radicalisation, one needs to have thoroughly investigated every single individual politician and institution, be it a school or a political party, where anti-Constitutional, divisive concepts demonising any section of society or painting any section in glorified colours is resorted to. State bias and possibly deliberate looking-away promotes many “institutions” tap into official patronage by the simple expedient of buying into larger frameworks or grids of corrosive anti-minority pseudo-intellectualism feeding on agendas of hate.

Brian Luke Seaward states apprehensions and fears dominate conversation and has us caught in a whirlpool of negativity. When tipping points are reached, such thinking manifests itself in hostile actions destructive of social order.

Conveniently, the Establishment, wanting protests to end but without being seen acting against what is undeniably peaceful, legitimate, well-founded, Constitutionally sanctioned protest, finds its quest aided by armed thugs who manage to stand bang (yes, bang!) in front of armed policemen and open fire.

Shots fired at Shaheen Bagh protesters surprisingly saw misplaced focus: no focus on how these people secured weapons and bullets; none on where ideological roots of gun-wielding thugs lie (contrast with action against SIO, PFI, etc.); no focus on who their political mentors are; none on how and why they assumed immunity from legal process; no focus on who gave them that assurance, who their protectors, themselves offenders because abetment and harbouring offenders both are offences, are, where they draw bravado from, committing crimes with impunity even advertising them on social media; none on why there’s no preventive action and, after the first incident, why those coming to these protest locations were not frisked, no properties sealed (!); none on why not policemen but protesters themselves frisk entrants; no focus on what investigative exercise has been carried out to ascertain where thugs secure unlicensed weapons from, which politicians weapon supply chains lead to; no investigation to ascertain where insignificant impecunious thugs got money from securing weapons or if supplied free, by whom; no focus on which political entity gun-toting criminals share common ideology with, who they appear in photographs with; none on where in high echelons of power honest independent lines of investigation would lead… a usually screaming-and-baying-for-blood media conspicuously silent about critical aspects impacting national security: armed thugs roaming free in the national capital. No demands NIA investigate Arms Act violations, none screaming “Sedition”, none alleging “Waging war against State”, all “tukde-tukde” rants suddenly stunningly eloquently amazingly silent…

A serious spate of brazen crimes, coupled with absence of multiple arrests and serious charges, suggests intimidation of protesters via State actors’ speeches is seeing outsourcing to murderous assaulters provided with deadly “private” weapons… Political objective achieved, minus political accountability. “Coincidence!”  Bail-in-a-matter-of-days contrasts with no bail for weeks to peaceful protesters, raising both eyebrows and hackles.

In law when events take place effort is to identify motive, preparation that preceded, and previous and subsequent conduct, of dramatis personae: not just physical actors, their mentors and political ideologues: “coincidence” that slogans goli maaro saalon ko preceded the spate of firing incidents? Anyone connecting dots? Shouldn’t such “coincidences” be investigated, results made public, considering the entire opposition and the public at large are seriously perturbed? If not investigated, is it because what is already known needs no investigation? Why is no one baying “The nation wants to know”?!

Will the judiciary call for a report, monitor the inquiry, considering CJI declined to hear matters till violence died down? Were gunmen agents provocateur, unleashed hoping incensed protesters would tear one limb from limb, waiting policemen taking the cue, a la UP, to crack down on protesters? Are master-manipulators manoeuvring behind the scenes?

We, the people, want to know… know who stands where, whom to vote for. And vote out.

Shafeeq R. Mahajir is a seasoned lawyer based in Hyderabad.

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