The recent arrest of Jamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha and two JNU students, Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, both activists with Pinjra Tod, shows that the Union home ministry is convinced the ‘Bhima Koregaon model’ works and must be replicated.
What is this model? You start with a few arrests, for instance, the first round of the Bhima Koregaon five or the Jamia students Safoora Zargar and Meeran Haider. Then you widen the net indiscriminately to build up a picture of an immense threat to the nation from a nexus of Dalits and Maoists, Islamists and Marxists or whatever. In actuality, the major threat this government fears is the Constitution, in whose name all these activists have worked, and which the ruling party wants to gut.
As with the Bhima Koregaon struggle which was a symbol of Dalit assertion against neo-Brahminism, the BJP government is trying to completely change the narrative around the anti-CAA protests. At least six clear motives appear to be at work in both cases.