The Bharatiya Janata Party’s first response to any dissent is predictable. Union ministers go on the offensive, calling the dissenters anti-nationals, Maoists, jihadis etc. Sadly, by now, what is equally predictable is how the media amplifies this propaganda.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) decided to mark December 10, International Human Rights Day, by remembering several prominent activists arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention Act (UAPA), especially those arrested in the name of Bhima Koregaon, and the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The release of these activists has been a long-standing demand of the Ugrahan group, though it is not part of the minimum common program of the farmers unions, which is focused on the repeal of the Modi government’s three farm laws.
The BJP has predictably, used this occasion to issue dire warnings about the infiltration of the farmers’ movements by “leftists”, “anti-nationals”, “Maoists”, the “tukde tukde gang” and so on. As of now, they have not had the guts to call the thousands of army veterans returning their medals in solidarity with the farmers, the “award wapsi gang”, but that may be only because the media has not highlighted this out of consideration for the pro-army image the government is trying to cultivate.