Much ado about a toolkit
What is happening in this country today is shocking. An international climate activist, Greta Thunberg lends her support to the ongoing farmers’ movement. The Modi government is rattled and smells an international conspiracy. The next thing is that Thunberg’s associates in India, Disha Ravi, lawyer Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk. Why is the sedition law suddenly being used against all those that criticise the Modi government and its policies, more particularly the Farmers’ Bills that were pushed through without a debate. The farmers have the right to oppose; so too every citizen in this country. This is a constitutional right of and no government can take away this right from us. But since 2014 we have been seeing the oppressive side of the BJP. The government seems to spend more time in arresting people than in implementing the long list of schemes declared by Modi.
This government’s economic policies are tuned towards empowering those already high up in the corporate ladder like the Adanis and the Ambanis. The BJP is not what it shows itself to be. Before the 2014 elections, Modi attacked the Congress-led UPA Government and vowed to cleanse up the system. But nothing like that happened. In fact, even senior persons and activists have been arrested by this Government for sedition. They are spending time in jail at great cost to their mental and physical health. It’s unbelievable that a government can use the police to file a string of cases even against those protesting against the CAA which is a discriminatory piece of legislation. Muslims in this country feel a deep sense of insecurity because of the CAA. Yet they can do nothing. Journalists are being arrested for reporting the Hathras rape case and other untoward incidents happening in this country.
We in Meghalaya don’t seem to realise this but we too are losing our freedoms along with the rest of the country. The only difference here is that we don’t have people speaking up against the current regime. Everyone is focussed on the ILP and expecting the NDA government to grant it. I, for one don’t foresee that the Modi government granting ILP to Meghalaya because it has been pointed out earlier that this state already has the Sixth Schedule.
Now Disha Ravi is in jail because of a ‘toolkit.’ How can a toolkit be such a potent instrument when all it does is to brief a climate activist on how to carry out their activism. We need a break from this claustrophobia, this sense of being hemmed in by a state that will not tolerate dissent. But who will lead the way?
The recent army coup in Myanmar has impacted India and Bangladesh in entirely different ways. As for India, it is a wait – and – watch situation. There has been a close cooperation between the Indian and Myanmar armies on insurgency –related issues troubling the two countries. Hence, the relations between the two countries are likely to be normal. The impact of the coup on Bangladesh is profound compared with that on India. Myanmar authorities had agreed to rehabilitate over 40,000 refugees removed out of a list of 800,000 people by Bangladesh.
When the newly elected NLD(National League for Democracy) government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi displaced, it had aroused hopes that the 40,000 people could be repatriated to the Rakhine province in a short while. Now around 11,00,000 Rohingyas are sheltered in different parts of Bangladesh. Now that the military is in complete control of Myanmar after the coup, Rohingya refugees are even more afraid. The coup could make it more challenging for the Rohingyas to return home. The coup has taken place at a time when the two countries agreed to start the repatriation. The new military regime is unlikely to prioritise return of Rohingya communities.
As per the new citizenship law announced by Myanmar authorities, Rohingya Muslims are “resident foreigners” and not citizens. Over the years, many ethnic cleansing raids have been carried out to drive out the community. According to the Burmese law, while the Rohingyas can stay on in the Rakhine region, their children are not supposed to study beyond the primary level. They won’t get official jobs or medical help either. The government also has the right to seize Rohingya property.
A great deal was expected from Aung San Suu Kyi. However, she took a tough stand on the issue. The world was shocked at how she treated the hapless Rohingyas. She approved the decision to marginalise the community and defended the army raids. There have been reports of genocide of the Rohingyas.
Venu G S,