Arvind Kejriwal and his friends tried to protest the coal scam on Sunday, August 26.
The odd thing about this protest was that instead of following the usual route – causing massive traffic jams and harassing random innocent bystanders – this protest was aiming to go directly to the source. They wanted to protest in front of the homes of PM Manmohan Singh and Opposition leader Gadkari.
Now I personally do not agree with most of what Arvind Kejriwal says or his weird tactics. But I do agree with his logic that politicians, not the public, should face the ire when things go bad.
The Delhi police, happily fueled by sycophancy and panic, used tear gas, water cannons and arrests to put an end to the shenanigans.
Ah India. A proud land where our sahibs always have the honour, the courage and the fortitude of character to use state resources to keep riffraff away from their exalted presence.
The police said that they could not allow protests in high-security areas and they must maintain law and order.
I find this concept hilarious.
New Delhi is not only the rape Capital of India, but also a city with a high crime rate even though it has one of the best police-to-citizens ratios in the country. At 84,000 cops, they are approaching the total number of cops for entire states.
Even then, this city is the reason why the Supreme Court was so enthusiastic about stripping tinted film off our cars, owing to the high number of rapes inside moving cars in the National capital region.
Delhi ranks amongst the last cities that people of this country, given a choice, would want to live in.
And the police of THIS city is worried about law and order? Since when?
Oh please. Nevermind law and order, they should just have the guts to tell us that one of their biggest jobs is to make sure the sahibs are not disturbed. (Something that they are really efficient at doing)
The funniest part was how some cops used statements like – “The supporters were running helter-skelter and it made our task all the more difficult.”
What the heck was your job anyway? To stop protestors from going to the homes of Gadkari, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh?
You don’t do a thing if protestors march on public roads. If I call you and say protestors are outside my house, will you come with five layers of barricades to defend me?
Somehow I doubt it.
But the homes of public officials facing the ire of the public suddenly need to be defended like Kargil?
Here is an idea – maintain a blast radius of about 30 feet around these homes with barricades. The only job the police have to do is to make sure that everyone stays behind that barricade. Job over.
Last I had heard, looking at people holding placards or listening to them chant slogans was not a health hazard. Although considering the average age of our politicians, loud noises might be a cause for concern.
Speaking of security, whatever the politicians might personally think, I doubt if these particular politicians are high on anyone’s list. Assassination happens to those leaders who actually do something.
(FYI – Cops are only supposed to protect politicians from threats arising due to their position, not from their personal vendettas. Z-Level security for Minister for Earth Sciences it seems. Who is threatening the meteorological department? Pissed off TV weather anchors?)
I deeply suspect that the reason why Mumbai keeps getting attacked, instead of Delhi, is simply because even the terrorists realize where the real work is being done in this country.
My dear Delhi police. Do tell me why a movement with a long history of peaceful protest is suddenly such a danger to everyone that you needed to use tear gas and water cannons when they wanted to protest against their own Prime Minister?
And don’t say Prime Minister in that stupid hushed tone as if we are talking about a god.
The ‘seat’ is a completely metaphorical concept to everyone except the three or four people who actually have a chance of becoming the PM.
To the rest of us, the PM should have the same meaning as the corporation officer who collects taxes.
The problem is that instead of treating the PM like any other government servant, we treat that officer also as if he is the PM!
Why is this country so obsessed with deference? All it requires is the peon of the junior secretary of an ex-MLA from the smallest party in Parliament to show up and various people will start bending over.
But I digress.
At least Kejriwal is doing his self-professed job – protesting against corruption.
What are the people being protected doing?
Here are just some of the bills pending in Parliament – Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisations Bill, Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, and the Chemical Weapons (Amendment) Bill.
These are serious issues. These bills must be passed.
But they won’t be passed anytime soon because MPs, confident that the police will make sure they are never sexually harassed or their land is never forcibly taken without compensation, would rather scream and shout like children than do their jobs.
(Let us not forget that the PM the cops are so busy defending belongs to a party whose appeasement policies are tearing the fabric of this country apart even as they work on even better ways – ex: promotions through reservation, not merit – to kill what little efficiency we have left.)
The politicians, from the BJP or the Congress or any party, don’t care. They will get paid no matter what they do. And when they go home, they won’t have to face any angry protests themselves because the state police will happily hose down protestors on their behalf.
I will only agree that the cops actually care about law and order if they use a water cannon the next time some politician decides to block roads and cause mayhem in the name of protest.
People protesting politicians not doing their job – law and order problem.
Politicians delaying millions of citizens from reaching their offices to actually do some work – totally fine
And these same cops, so eager in their salaams to their sahibs, are the bane of the common man. They will stop us at random intervals and demand bribes. They will collect hafta from vendors. They will strut about in the streets as if they are kings. They will abuse us and humiliate us.
I don’t know which is more sickening. The shameless claims by the police that they are just doing their job or the attitude of the sahibs who believe that they are better than us.
The irony is that if they were any better than the average person on the street, they would have never been elected.
Remember, in a first-past-post style democracy like ours, the winner is the person who some majority are willing to elect. That person will never be the elite. He or she will always be the lowest common denominator.
And that denominator must now be protected from the very same public who elected him/her as if they are some sort of national treasure.
Welcome to India.