WION Edit: Without peace, there can be no debate

WION Delhi Dec 17, 2019, 01.23 PM(IST)

Image for representation. Photograph:( AFP )

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The Citizenship Amendment Act and the NRC are serious nuanced issues. They shouldn't be reduced to the police versus protesters situation. 

The world is watching violent scenes playing out in India and the reaction is not favourable. Many countries have raised concerns over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) while a UN agency calls it 'fundamentally discriminatory'.

On WION Edit, we discuss the implications of the debate and the protests.

The biggest culprit is politics. When you politicise NRC to win an election without consulting the stakeholders, you're asking for trouble.

The NRC exercise is a sensitive one, politics must have been kept out of it. Second, such decisions cannot be imposed. they impact lives.

The protests are proof that the indigenous people in these states were not consulted properly.

When decisions like the amendment in Citizenship Law are taken without consensus, they lead to chaos. Assam has already seen it in the late 70s and early 80s.

And then the Assam accord was signed. Now 34 years later, there are protests again. This exposes the fault lines in Indian politics.

Meanwhile, it is a constitutionally valid right to protest. Dissent, civil disobedience and protests - these are the bedrocks on which Indian democracy was founded and built.

But the protest has a limit and protesters have a responsibility, they cannot and should not resort to violence.

The moment you do that, you are on the wrong side of law and must face action.

Protesters must know they run the risk of being used as proxies by vested interests. Such interests can be political, they can be foreign as well.

Case in point-- the Jamia Millia University protests in Delhi.

The students were protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act and they have every right to do so. But when buses are burnt and public order is disrupted, then the police will step in - it's their job.

Did the police overstep? Did they use more force than was needed? why did they fire teargas in a college library? These are questions that must be thoroughly probed.

The Citizenship Amendment Act and the NRC are serious nuanced issues. They shouldn't be reduced to the police versus protesters situation. 

The government that passes acts without due consultation, an opposition that wants to politicise 'sensitive' matters, trigger-happy leaders from all parties - ever too ready to stir the pot with 'volatile' comments, and a country whose economic growth is slipping - this is not a good combination.

Left unchecked, these protests could precipitate India's journey to doom. It's time for the government to be open - to listen to the protesters. It's also time for the courts to step in and take stern, quick decisions.

India's growth story was founded on peace, diversity and co-existence. All the stakeholders, and that includes the public, should keep their emotions in check. 

Those who damage public property in the name of protests must be identified and booked. Those who use excessive force in uniform - must also face the music.

The first priority must be restoring public order. Because without peace, there can be no debate, no forward movement.

(Disclaimer: WION Edit is the channel's take on the big events of the world)