In February 2016, a woman was travelling from Haridwar and her bus broke down near Murthal. She had to board a cab from there. Little did she know that minutes later, she would be pulled out of her car and gang-raped.
It took place during the time of the violent Jat Reservation agitation in Haryana and the perpetrators were the protesters who resorted to violence, in order to prove their point.
In the recent past, a number of reservation protests like the Patidars in Gujarat, the Jats in the North and the Kapu community in Andhra Pradesh have shaken the country. From causing severe destruction to buses, police stations and other public and private property, to rape and murder, these protests have caused it all. It has caused the country a loss of thousands of crores as well as disrupted lives of innocent civilians. It is a shame because it is the same country that attained freedom on the principle of non-violence.
The problem does not lie in the protests but the violence that these protests have triggered and resulted in rapes, deaths and the loss of property. Neither does the problem lie just with protesters as the government is setting up a terrible precedent by giving up to the demands of such violent protesters.
It is bad parenting to give in to your child’s demands to stop him from crying and creating a ruckus for something he wants, as it just sets a wrong example for the child.
If in the future he wants something, he knows that the easy method to have his way is by throwing tantrums and not asking for it politely. And it’s not just that child who gets the wrong message but also the other children of the house. This is exactly what our government has been doing with the reservation protests. It gets taken to ransom by a community for reservation and eventually ends up granting them a quota.
The government is also under pressure to restore the peace, but sadly the records will show that the government only grants wishes of those who create a hue and cry for it. The party sitting in the opposition fuels the fire of these protests as it helps them gain political ammunition. The people leading these protests also have political ambitions and incite violence to push their own agenda. The only people at the receiving end of it all are the innocent civilians of the nation.
As a citizen of a democratic nation we have the right to put across our point to the government when there is any sort of disagreement regarding any issue. But there is a legal system set in place to practice this right in a civilized manner. The government also needs to speed up its legal system so that the petitioners do not resort to other means to meet their demands.
Protests are a means to conduct a dialogue between the citizens and the government but using violence proves counterproductive for the cause as the issue at its core gets overshadowed by other issues. To put it in Mahatma Gandhi’s words –
“Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.”
The featured image was taken from – PTI