ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Bulldozing the Idea of Democracy

The state apparatus’ inaction in dealing with communal violence will have dire consequences.

 

Over the last couple of weeks, incidents of communal violence were reported in several states in India. There are certain common elements that can be observed in all such incidences of violence. Arguably, the state apparatus— consisting of the government, the judiciary, the police, the bureaucracy, etc.— appears too weak in dutifully confronting the ensuing violence that happens right under its watchful eyes. However, in most of these cases, the issue is hardly ever of capacity and more about intent. Do the state authorities intend for cases of communal violence to cease from ever happening again? Do the authorities promptly punish the ones who are involved in the acts of pillage, assault, and murder during the times of such calibrated violence against vulnerable minorities? Whether it is about upending the fruit-laden cart of a poor Muslim vendor in Karnataka or about the assault on students protesting against a ban on consuming meat in a university hostel in New Delhi, about a supposed priest giving rape threats to Muslim women in Uttar Pradesh or the arson of Muslim-owned shops and residences in Rajasthan, all such incidents have happened in the due presence of the police personnel. The arm of the law— rather than handling the ones causing the violence and destruction of the basic tenets of democracy— nabs the victims of ongoing violence and makes them suffer through its complicitous non-intervention.

The political prospects of Indian democracy appear to be extremely bleak when the state apparatus shows such an unprecedented but unrepentant and calibrated intent of devouring the lives and livelihoods of its own citizens. The cavernous belly of a state apparatus that is intent upon looking away when its most marginalised citizens are getting bullied, threatened, pilloried, assaulted, and murdered will slowly but surely devour even those who have the luxury of sitting on the fences at the present moment. The logic of such political cruelty is unsparing if not indiscriminate; it is the incalculable value of life itself that suffers when such state-sanctioned cruelty makes it effects felt upon the bodies of its most vulnerable citizens. With the value of life itself getting diminished and death becoming cheaper in the process of such prolonged political cruelty, no citizen— howsoever privileged— is ultimately safe against the unsatiable hunger of lawless impunity that is the hallmark of authoritarian regimes.

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Updated On : 23rd Apr, 2022
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