From Anti-CAA to Farmers Protests- The Changing of Political Standards

In the latest developments, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of all three farm laws forming a 4-member committee of agriculturalists. The court has asked the protestors to file an application with Delhi Police to conduct protests at Ramlila Maidan. But it will not intervene in the decision of the Delhi Police. However, with due respect, it was the Supreme Court who showed a constricted view of ‘public sphere’ at the time of anti-CAA protests. According to Bar & Bench, Justice S.K. Kaul said “Public spaces and public places cannot be occupied indefinitely”. “It is the duty of the administration to remove such blockades of roads, and failure to do so, warranted court’s intervention,” at the time of anti-CAA ruling.

It was a year ago when a sit-in protest around 100 residents on Road Number 13A in Shaheen Bagh turned out to be the most prominent protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. And now it is the three farm laws, that aims to liberalize the farm economy, that has left farmers agitated to organize a similar sit-in protest on Delhi borders.

While the Shaheen Bagh protests lasted for 101 days and was forcefully cleared on the morning of March 24, 2020 due to national lockdown, farmers’ protests is now 45 days old. However, the current movement against ‘corrupt laws’ has brought back the memories of movement against ‘communal laws’.

CAA was not open for negotiations as was the Farm Laws

In a report published The Quint, Writer and activist Gurmehar Kaur said, “There was no space for negotiations. That is because in the 2019 general elections, the BJP came into power because it promised the people Anti-Muslim laws. It came into power on the promise that it would turn India into a Hindu Rashtra, a Hindutva state.”
The case is not the same with farmers’ protests as already 8 rounds of meetings have been conducted with no conclusions, and the 9th meeting is scheduled for January 15, 2021

It was easy to demonize Muslims

With flaring anti-CAA protests, Counter protests with chants of “desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaron saalon ko” – shoot the traitors was immensely used. It was the Union Minister Anurag Thakur who deployed the chant ahead of Delhi Assembly Elections. An elderly protesting lady in Punjab was mistaken to be Bilkis Bano, the dadi of Shaheen Bagh, protesting for a minimal fee. However, it was later clarified that the lady spotted at farmers protest is Mahinder Kaur.

Also Read: Meet “Dadi of Shaheen Bagh”

However, the farmers have also faced the government and media trial of being called ‘foreign funded’ to ‘Khalistani supporters’.

The ‘Muted’ Opposition over CAA was Vocal enough at Farmers’ Protests

Many opposition parties that refrained from supporting anti-CAA protests were witnessed to be enthusiastic participants of the farmers’ protests. One such was the Delhi CM Kejriwal, who once said that he has no say in laws made the Central Government, is now on roads urging the government to repeal farm laws.