Jamia Millia, AMU violence: Don’t let ‘Ferguson Effect’ take over

Delhi Dec 16, 2019, 04.20 PM(IST) Written By: Arun Anand

File photo: Photograph:( Reuters )

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It is much easier to term use of force as ‘brute’ without realising that the cops are not expected to remain mute spectators while they are targeted by the anti-Indian elements

The violence on the streets of the Capital of the country witnessed over the last two days and the criticism of ‘Delhi Police’ for using force to stop those burning buses, indulging in stone pelting and threatening to create an anarchy in the city compels one to think whether we, as a society, are creating an ideal situation for the ‘Ferguson Effect’.

Simply defined, ‘Ferguson Effect’ implies increased de-policing due to distrust of police created on false facts and deliberate misinformation campaigns. The term was coined by Doyle Sam Dotson III, the chief of the St. Louis police, to account for an increased murder rate in some US cities following the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri after 2014 shooting of a black man named  Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer.

As Brown’s body laid on the street while shooting investigators and the medical examiners were completing their work, the neighbourhood crowd grew agitated and threatening. It was fed by Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson’s narrative of the events leading to the fatal shooting. Johnson became a media darling soon and cops were turned into ‘villains’  by the local media without realising perhaps, how they were being manipulated.

The national media of the US too jumped on the bandwagon as it arrived in Ferguson and mounted the “Hands up, don’t shoot!” narrative.  The media across the US went hammer and tongs against the police departments and policing. The campaign led to the reluctance of cops to be proactive in stopping crimes including the heinous ones. This led to the skyrocketing of crime rates in several US cities.

Those who are criticising the use of force to stop the miscreants and rioters in the garb of students fail to understand that it wasn’t a simple student agitation at Jamia Millia University any more. Neither did it remain an agitation against the National Register for Citizens or the amendment in the Citizenship Act.

It had started as a students’ agitation but then it was simply taken over by the nexus of ultra-left and the radical Muslims. That is why the Delhi police had to move to the campus. In fact, 80 per cent of the students from Jamia had already left the campus due to vacations before the agitation started. And more than 80 per cent of the agitators were not students but Islamic fundamentalists and Maoists or Naxals.

Not many people would know but there are several eyewitnesses that on Sunday evening when the agitation was going on in front of the old building of Delhi Police Headquarter, two persons were caught with backpacks which were full of stones. And neither of them was a student. It indicates meticulous planning to create bloodbath on the streets in the garb of a protest by students.

There is credible evidence with the law enforcement agencies that the local leaders of Congress and Aam Aadmi Party fuelled this agitation. The tweets of their leaders are a reflection of their thinking and involvement itself. As one is aware that AAP is largely a political front of Urban Naxals and top Congress leaders’ offices and political strategies are now managed by former ultra-left student leaders from the Jawahar Lal Nehru University, so the two parties have a lot of synergy in terms of fomenting trouble at the campuses.

The fact is that the Leftists, after being pummeled electorally and being compelled to leave other institutions have been using their last bastion- universities and higher education institutions- as their last battleground. That is why one sees the eruption of violent, anarchic and anti-India campaigns emerging from those universities where they have a strong hold either amongst students or amongst academics or both.

The dangerous trend, however, is that what we have witnessed in the Aligarh Muslim University and the Jamia  Millia is a lethal combination of  Naxals and Islamic fundamentalists. The ultra-left is taking care of the back end planning while the Islamic fundamentalists are the face of these agitations. That is why one sees the swift and quick mobilisation of a large number of agitators from one place to another.

The ultra-left initially tried to create unrest after 2014 by manipulating the death of Rohit Vemulla in Hyderabad. They wanted to play the Dalit card and put Dalits of the country against the Indian state. But Dalits could see through this and called off the bluff of Urban Naxals and Maoists who treat young students as ‘guns for hire’. They ruthlessly manipulate the youth from a distance while sitting in their own safe cocoons. After the ‘Dalit card’ failed to pull off, the ultra-left has now tied up with the  Islamic fundamentalists.

What we are witnessing in Jamia and AMU is a manifestation of this nexus. In fact, the cops in UP, as well as Delhi, deserve kudos for using the force with ‘restraint.’ It is much easier to term use of force as ‘brute’ without realising that the cops are not expected to remain mute spectators while they are targeted by the anti-Indian elements. They have to ensure that the law and order is restored. And they have done what was needed to be done and what was supposed to be done.

Many people could have been killed as anti-Indian elements, driving these agitations, were trying to provoke the cops.  But the police at both the places refused to walk in their trap. Now it is our duty to ensure that we do not let the ‘Ferguson Effect’ take over our society and police. Most importantly, it is the responsibility of the students at campuses to ensure that they do not let anyone ‘manipulate’ them in the name of religion or ideology.

(Views expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)