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Peaceful protests are safety valves for people to vent their anger’’
25 December 2019

Peaceful protests are safety valves for people to vent their anger’’

Jayant‘Peaceful protests are safety valves for people to vent their anger’’

RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary says fear over CAA-NRC real

“It’s turning out to be like a Bollywood potboiler where nobody knows who is firing the bullets,” remarked Jayant Chaudhary, vice president of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), on the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh.

Spiralling protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act across the State have led to more than a dozen deaths by gunshot injuries.

Reacting to an alleged audio clip of the Bijnor Superindent of Police in which he is purportedly saying no one could protest against a law enacted by Parliament, Mr. Chaudhary said this was not how democracy worked.

‘Dynamic process’

“It is a dynamic process where laws change when the Parliament responds to people’s demands. And peaceful protests are safety valves that allow people to vent their anger,” he said.

“People were reacting to the statements made by the government in Parliament regarding the CAA-NRC. It was not a figment of somebody’s imagination. The fear was real,” he added.

Mr. Chaudhary said that in certain places violence did happen and the protesters took the form of a mob, but argued that it didn’t give the government freedom to paint the entire protest in “one colour” and use “oppression as a state goal”.

“It is an opportunity for the government to introspect into the protocol, training, and attitude of the police. Right now, people are losing faith in the system. There are enough videos and photographs that indicate the excessive use of force to control violence that was sporadic and could have been handled by better policing,” he said. “I suggest that designated spaces, like Jantar Mantar in Delhi, should be created in smaller towns and cities as well where people could protest.”

Speaking to The Hindu on Kisan Diwas, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister and his grandfather Chaudhary Charan Singh, Mr. Chaudhary said, “Those who have worked with or are influenced by Chaudhary Sahab don’t carry even an iota of communalism in their DNA.”

He said the government was creating fear to create a wedge between communities. “We will go and meet the victims of the protests in Muzaffarnagar and Meerut and would provide all possible relief to them,” he said. He condemned the sealing of shops of Muslim businessmen in Meenakshi Chowk area of Muzaffarnagar.

“The investigation works on evidence, not on somebody’s perception that criminalises a large section of a community to harm its interests,” he remarked.

Mr. Chaudhary said the closely fought Lok Sabha election in Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat proved that the area was no longer “polarised”. “We could see green shoots of the composite culture that defined these areas for centuries before the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 snapped the ties.”

On the farmer getting coloured by the Hindutva wave, he said one could not discount the “political identity” of the farmer. “It will re-emerge in a flash,” he hoped.

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