In The News



by HUMRA QURAISHI March 30 2024, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins, 54 secs

The arrest of Delhi's Chief Minister and AAP leader, Arvind Kejriwal, represents a catastrophic turning point for the ruling Right-Wing government, writes Humra Quraishi.

The timing and manner of his arrest have left citizens bewildered, raising questions about the motives and integrity of those in power. The compounded effect of other prominent AAP members already imprisoned further exacerbates concerns, effectively silencing dissenting voices and isolating them from the public sphere.

Kejriwal's arrest has not only stirred immediate outrage but has also prompted deeper reflections on the political landscape. It brings to the forefront a significant realization among the masses. Despite the BJP's assurances that under its rule, all Hindus would be safeguarded and cared for, this narrative is now being met with scepticism. The disillusionment among the public is palpable as they witness the stark dissonance between political rhetoric and the actual implementation of governance.

Kejriwal's arrest highlights the dangers of unchecked power and the manipulation of legal mechanisms for political gain. The repercussions of such actions extend beyond the immediate implications for Kejriwal and AAP, signalling a broader erosion of democratic norms and values.

This serves as a wake-up call for citizens, urging them to scrutinize the actions of their government more closely and to defend the principles of democracy and justice. It underscores the imperative for accountability, transparency, and the protection of fundamental rights in the face of authoritarian tendencies within the political establishment.  

The arrest of Kejriwal has sparked deep concern and discontent among various segments of society, particularly the Baniya trading community, who find themselves increasingly disillusioned with the actions of the Right-Wing forces. However, it's not just limited to one community; the average citizen at large perceives the unfolding political chaos and deceit. A pervasive sense of insecurity now spreads across society, especially for those who dare to speak up, question authority, or challenge the status quo.

This unease among the masses raises pertinent questions about the future of democracy and the viability of genuine opposition in the lead-up to the general elections. With each targeted arrest of key opposition figures and the sealing of their bank accounts of the Indian National Congress (INC), doubts loom over the fairness and freedom of forthcoming elections. The spectre of democracy being throttled and replaced by authoritarian rule becomes increasingly palpable.

The signs of the systematic targeting of opposition leaders became apparent months ago, notably during Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, where obstacles and threats were hurled their way. Despite Gandhi's unwavering determination to take the risks, it raised significant questions about the government's discomfort with the spontaneous mass participation in the Yatra. The subsequent arrest of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren further fuelled apprehensions, casting a dark shadow over the democratic process.

Now, with the arrest of prominent AAP leaders, including the sitting Chief Minister of the national capital, the situation takes a more ominous turn. It underscores a disturbing trend of consolidating power through coercive means. The blatant disregard for democratic norms and the relentless persecution of opposition voices signal a dangerous erosion of democratic values.  

The arrest of opposition leaders serves as a stark warning of the encroaching threat to democracy. It will, hopefully, galvanize citizens to resist the slide towards authoritarianism, demand and press for the urgent need for accountability, transparency, and the protection of fundamental freedoms.

The recent protests led by AAP members in response to the arrest of their leader, Arvind Kejriwal, have been met with not just political opposition but also physical violence, targeting journalists covering the events. Media personnel, bravely carrying out their duty to report on public demonstrations, found themselves subjected to alarming acts of aggression at the hands of law enforcement.

A statement issued by the Press Club of India on March 26, 2024, vividly captures the severity of the situation. It condemns the appalling assault on photojournalists by the Delhi police, recounting disturbing incidents where senior officers resorted to physical intimidation, even going as far as grabbing journalists by their throats. These acts occurred amidst the coverage of the AAP protests demanding Kejriwal's release, which have persisted for six days following his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21.  

The statement underscores the crucial role of journalists in covering political protests, emphasizing that the assaulted photojournalists were merely fulfilling their professional duties. It highlights the harrowing experiences faced by individuals such as Arun Thakur from the India Today group, a seasoned journalist with over two decades of experience, who was subjected to a threatening physical confrontation. Another journalist, Salman Ali of Hindustan, suffered a fractured elbow as a result of the violence instigated by the Delhi Police.

The Press Club of India unequivocally asserts that any form of assault on journalists and photojournalists is intolerable, emphasizing that the freedom of the press is a fundamental right enshrined by the Supreme Court on numerous occasions. The statement serves as a poignant reminder to the top echelons of the Delhi Police of their obligation to uphold democratic principles and respect the rights of the press.

Emerging prominently amidst the political landscape are deep-rooted concerns regarding the transparency and accountability of the electoral process. A multitude of activists, retired civil servants, and legal experts have raised serious doubts regarding the reliability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and the subsequent fallout. This fundamental question looms large: will there be genuine transparency and accountability throughout the electoral process?

The issue of electoral bonds has further revealed the veiled corruption within political circles. It has brought to light the hypocrisy of those in power who have long touted their integrity while being entangled in layers of corruption beneath their carefully crafted personas.

Despite such revelations, the question remains: why is the citizenry not reacting more vehemently to these alarming developments?

The truth is, the average citizen is grappling with more immediate and pressing concerns. Each day brings forth new challenges for individuals who find themselves facing homelessness, unemployment, and financial destitution. In such dire circumstances, their cries for assistance often go unheard amidst the clamour of political discourse.

An example of this disconnect is illustrated through the plight of Ladakh's Sonam Wangchuk. Despite his notable stature as a climate activist and education reformer, his hunger strike lasting three weeks to demand Ladakh's promised statehood and protection of its fragile ecology went largely unnoticed by the political elite. Not a single Central Minister deemed it necessary to personally address his grievances, highlighting the stark indifference of those in power to the genuine concerns of the citizenry.

Are you telling me that Bill Gates, who champions climate change and environment issues and puts the might of his wealth behind such efforts, wasn’t aware of Sonam Wangchuk’s protest and about the Indian government and mainstream media deliberately ignoring it at the time he interviewed the Prime Minister of India on 29th March 2024, also praised him for the humanitarian work he has done during his tenure? What is the reason for this hypocrisy? Why are the capitalists/philanthropists supporting a government who has done the opposite of what is expected from it?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.