Gangrape protests: It's not just hooligans that killed Constable Tomar
Is this what we wanted, the death of Delhi Police constable Subhash Chand Tomar in the line of duty?
Is this the what we wanted, with our three-pronged protest against the gangrape and bestiality in Delhi on December 16 night, against the police apathy-turned-highhandedness, and against a government with hearing impairment?
Is this what we wanted, with the media allegedly fanning trouble at India Gate, and at Jantar Mantar when India Gate was made out of reach because of its ”irresponsible and immature” coverage of the events (that’s the government line while putting curbs on the media. Read it here)?
Is this, to put the question going around unasked in many circles, what the youth protesting against the rape and near-fatal assault of the 23-year-old want to achieve in the end? Killing cops, shaming the government and maiming administration?
No, no one wanted, or want, this. Not the “mob”, as home minister Sushil Shinde called the group of protesters before equating them with the Maoists, Not even the in absentia protestors such as this writer, nor all those who ran over Tomar in the melee caused by the excessive police action and eight of whom have now been charged with murder.
Everyone in this crowd would agree that if at all constable Tomar was “attacked” before being trampled upon, those responsible for that attack must be tried for murder. But, equally, everyone in this crowd would also agree that things came to such a pass primarily due to the lack of attention, focus and seriousness of the government towards the protests till Sunday. So when the authorities, led by the prime minister in his 2-minute speech and the whole Congress jing-bang of ministers and leaders urge for peace and calm, and intentionally (like Shinde did) or inadvertently (like Manmohan singh did) blame the protestors for the violence and pass on the responsibility buck, one should stand up and protest that, too.
Why was there no violence in the first two days? Because the youth were demanding something from their government. Why did it escalate from Friday onward? Because their demands met with blind eyes and fell on deaf ears. The demands could be justified or unjustified, but either way they demanded to be reasoned, heard, thrashed out.
As many have said over the last couple of days, there was no harm in giving them a fair hearing. And not just selected groups (of NSUI or Youth Congress people, as reported by many) addressed by Shinde and her party boss, Sonia Gandhi.
A leader is one who leads, and by default the PM, his ministers and cronies of his party boss and her son, are each a specimen of that tribe. They should act, and be seen and be heard to act, not just react.
So when Manmohan Singh says “as a father of three daughters myself, I feel as strongly about this as each one of you”, I say well said, but not well meant. There were fathers, mothers, people young enough to be his children and grandchildren out there, raising their voice. As leader of the nation, Manmohan cannot claim to feel, in private, “as strongly” as the people and expect them to understand.
And when the PM says “I appeal to all sections of society to maintain peace and help us in our efforts,” I say sack your speech writer. All sections of the society maintained peace but initially and for most part of the protests, but Manmohan didn’t show up in with his “efforts”.
Tragically, all his efforts came with the help of the police, their batons, their water cannons and their tear gas shells. Unfortunately, while the "hooligans" who are said to have attacked him might be brought to book, the government will get away blaming everybody and everything except itself.