Act against goonda lawyers

The blatant goondaism that a group of lawyers and Bharatiya Janata Party activists, including Delhi MLA O P Sharma, displayed at national capital’s Patiala House court complex earlier this week is reason for serious concern. They beat up Jawaharlal Nehru University students and teachers – even journalists were not spared and women were molested – who had come to show solidarity with JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, who faces sedition charges. Following Monday’s violence, the Supreme Court banned protests at the court complex. Yet when Kanhaiya was produced in court on Wednesday, the lawyers returned to unleash violence again. They are supposed to uphold the Constitution and respect the judiciary. They are expected to conduct themselves with decency and decorum. But they behaved like a gang of goons. Their brazen defiance of the apex court order is reprehensible. As for the Delhi Police, instead of maintaining law and order and protecting citizens, it encouraged the attackers through its inaction, although there was enough evidence to arrest them. Had the police arrested Sharma and others on Monday, they would not have felt emboldened to repeat their thuggery two days later. The police collusion in the violence must be probed and punished.

The Narendra Modi government’s response to the violent assaults at the Patiala court complex is inde-fensible. No minister has condemned the violence to date. The BJP has done worse. When Sharma asser-ted that there is nothing wrong with “beating or even killing” someone who may be pro-Pakistani, instead of distancing the party from this obnoxious view, party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi endorsed it on live television.
Recent events mark an escalation in the attempt by the BJP government and the Sangh Parivar to crush those who do not share their views. Dubbing the latter as ‘anti-nationals’ and ‘traitors’, they seek to justify their violent silencing of their critics and opponents. Their targeting of those they deem to be ‘traitors’ is rapidly descending into a dangerous political witch-hunt. It must stop now. It is time the Parivar realised that its definition of ‘patriotism’ is severely flawed. It is the Parivar’s ideology, views and methods that are anti-national, violating as they do the founding principles of this country. Simply waving the national flag and shouting ‘pro-India’ slogans is not patriotism; standing up for India’s values and principles and strengthening this country is. The Parivar’s intolerance of dissent and assaults on democratic institutions is weakening Indian democracy. Its leaders’ hate speeches are polarising India and pitting Indian against Indian. These are weakening India and certainly not in the nation’s interest.

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