FeaturedInternationalVOLUME 16 ISSUE # 14

Farmers’ movement: India facing civil war condition

For Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the writing on the wall is clear. Sooner or later, he will have to go. Obviously, the message is: he could not hold the reins for much longer. He appears to be quickly losing ground among people in various parts of India with his many party stalwarts turning against him.

The farmers’ emancipation movement against Modi’s farm laws seems to have quickly been developing into a son of the soil movement with farmers not ready to give up in the near future, no matter what dangers and hardships may come their way.

The way other minorities of India, including Muslims, Dalits, Christians, Buddhists and labours unions in addition to civil rights groups are taking part in the movement, has no precedent in history. The farmers have proved their mettle by successfully going through all sorts of adversity and crackdowns from harsh weather to water cannons. With no let-up soon in sight, the movement appears to be taking its toll on the Brahmin’s mindset of the Modi-led BJP government in Delhi.

The protesting farmers are unwilling to budge even an inch from their stated stance against the recently promulgated three anti-farms laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Even after several months have passed the farmers are still in high spirits. This reality can be gauged by the fact that hundreds of thousands of farmers still squat at the Tikri (including Jharoda Kalan, Auchandi and Harewali), Singhu and Ghazipur borders. So far, about 200 farmers have lost their lives in the course of their unparalleled struggle. It is relevant to mention here that more than 10,000 farmers and farm labourers have committed suicide in 2019 alone. The farmers’ leaders are demanding a complete annulment of the laws, but Modi, as obstinate as ever, has only agreed to delay the reforms for 18 months. The harsh security measures taken to disrupt the movement of farmers protesting the Centre’s new laws have evoked sharp censure also from Opposition leaders, with Rahul Gandhi exhorting the government to build bridges, not walls.

If one rationally analyses what is happening across India nowadays, one would find that a host of factors are accountable for the simmering resentment and frustration in Indian society due to the Modi government’s policy of acting upon the philosophy of Hindutava and marginalizing the minorities in the country, especially Muslims and Christians.

With the growing fear of persecution lurking among the marginalized communities of India, the Modi-led BJP government is on a perilous journey playing with fire. The Brahmin’s mindset of the BJP government has spread hatred everywhere in India. The majority of the Indian population has become hopeless, disgruntled, and angry. Modi’s arbitrary policies have not only pushed the minorities, especially Muslims, Sikhs, Dalits, Adivasis and Christians to the wall but also gave rise to growing incidents of lynching of Muslims as well as members of other minorities, including Christians.

After the nullification of Article 370 that granted IIOJK ‘special status’, millions of Kashmiris still remain deprived of their basic rights. They are under harsh lockdown for months with a lack of food supplies and medicines, and with no internet and mobile connectivity. The ruthless and brutal use of force by the Indian forces has made their homeland a living hell for them. The killing of Kashmiri youngsters in fake encounters and their arrests on one account or the other has become the order of the day. While the talk is about breaking walls between Kashmir and India, new walls are coming up across the country. Now if a Muslim says anything against BJP policies, they are liable to be lynched by a mob.

The CAA and NPR exercise in Assam has left hundreds of thousands of individuals “stateless” although they are all bona fide citizens. Detention camps have been built where the ‘illegal’ immigrants have been confined. The Modi government’s racist politics is creating frenzied caste and religious identities. A new fault line is emerging in India’s warring landscape: local versus outsider. The BJP-led government enacted the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which provides a fast track to Indian citizenship only for non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan already residing in India. This potentially exposes millions of Muslims to detention, deportation, and statelessness when the government completes its planned nationwide National Register of Citizens.

Many Indians living abroad and those with secular viewpoints are worried about the policies of the BJP government. They are sure that secular ideals in India have been largely compromised in the last few years and minorities, women and marginalized groups will face a tough time in the coming days. They are convinced that India is now e a less tolerant and inclusive place.

Modi’s arbitrary and cruel policies have perturbed every sane voice in India. The gravity of the situation can well be judged by the fact that for the first time, in the history of India four senior judges of the Indian Supreme Court addressed a press conference, blaming Modi for controlling the Chief Justice of India, thereby endangering democracy in the country. Even the Election Commission condoned gross violations of the code of conduct by the PM and leaders of the BJP. The CBI director was removed overnight when he tried to investigate the Rafale aircraft deal corruption case by the Modi government. Unemployment in India is recently running at a 45-year high.

India has become a deeply divided nation. The BJP brand of politics has made India a sick society seething with anger and suspicions about various groups. Today, it’s Kashmir and Assam, tomorrow it could be Maharashtra and MP. It is high time Modi desisted from the disastrous path he is treading. Otherwise, India will soon plunge into a horrendous civil war.