Sunday, May 9, 2021
Home Opinions Anti-CAA riots: 'Liberals' brought back the 'urban riot', but Yogi Adityanath might have a...

Anti-CAA riots: ‘Liberals’ brought back the ‘urban riot’, but Yogi Adityanath might have a solution

The Uttar Pradesh government moved to extract an immediate price from those accused of rioting. Suddenly, the incentive structure changed. Even if the actual number of recoveries is tiny, it has a much larger chilling effect on wannabe rioters everywhere.

For over two weeks following the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), India witnessed rioting and violence on an unprecedented scale especially in Yogi ruled UP. From burning trains to pelting school buses with stones, from hate speeches (disguised as poems) to cornering policemen and trying to lynch them. Every rule of civilized society was broken as the anti-CAA rioters set about on their mission to overturn our democratic mandate with raw street violence.

The biggest, most disturbing takeaway here is this: urban riots have made a roaring comeback in modern India.

For a while now, it was assumed that due to the proliferation of technology, the urban riot was on its way out. After all, when there is a smartphone in every hand and CCTV in every corner, who could expect to stay anonymous in a mob? It was believed that with 24 x 7 cable news, rioting would quickly bring shame and stigma. The media and public outcry would be such that wanton violence would become politically unprofitable.

Read: Khilafat 2.0: How Useful Idiots in the media and political parties were fooled by Jamia students associated with the ‘blood brother’ of a banned Radical Islamic outfit

In the second half of December 2019, we have seen this belief turned on its head. The rioting went on and on, with much of the media actively cheering them. Sections of civil society often conferred a moral halo upon the rioters. Hate speech was characterized as “revolutionary poetry.” Rioting and stone-pelting were described as dissent. Fake news was systematically manufactured to malign police. Only yesterday, a man who called for the assassination of the Prime Minister was described by one of India’s most prominent news channels as a mere “scholar.”

The urban riot is back with a bang and the anti-CAA crowd has shown that it can be done. Not just that, rioters can expect to be glorified in domestic and international media, as well as academic and civil society circles. Nothing good can possibly come of this.

Read: Anti-CAA riots: Police seek ban on PFI as 25 members arrested for involvement in criminal activities during the protests

But there is some hope and it came out of Uttar Pradesh. This is where some of the worst violence had happened.

The Asian Age headline

In one word: consequences.

And now everyone wants to get in on this idea. First, it was the Railways.

The Hindu headline

Now, the Delhi Police wants the same.

The NDTV headline

It is heartening to see a good idea spread so quickly through the system.

From the point of view of a thug, rioting used to be a relatively risk-free activity. Given our weak police force, they would likely not get identified anyway. Even if they were, the worst that could happen would be a few hours at the police station. Then, they get out. The case gets buried along with literally crores of other cases pending in the judicial system.

Until now. The Uttar Pradesh government moved to extract an immediate price from those accused of rioting. Suddenly, the incentive structure changed. Even if the actual number of recoveries is tiny, it has a much larger chilling effect on wannabe rioters everywhere.

Read: Railway property worth Rs 80 crore damaged during anti-CAA riots, to be recovered from the rioters: Railway Board Chairman

And it worked. The anti-CAA rioting in Yogi ruled Uttar Pradesh stopped as suddenly as it had begun. Because the incentive structure for rioters had been turned around on its head. Incentives matter.

One thing is now clear. We cannot depend on media coverage to shame rioters into stopping the violence. It was an ad hoc solution anyway, a “jugaad” to compensate for the fact that India is a soft state with underpaid, ill-trained and unmotivated police.

Read: Congress wants Yogi Adityanath to resign because he would not let Islamists and politicians burn UP during anti-CAA riots

Instead, Yogi Adityanath is using the instruments of the state to finally fulfil one of the fundamental functions of government: protecting the life and property of citizens. It is time for other jurisdictions to pick up this new way and make it count. It will go a long way to restore the supremacy of the law.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

Related Articles

Trending now

Here is how The Lancet used dubious sources to blame Modi Govt for the Covid crisis

Following the abrogation of Article 370, The Lancet had issued a strong condemnation of the Indian Government.

Indian diaspora protests against West Bengal post-poll violence in UK, Canada, Australia and United States

"The State machinery is failing the people of West Bengal as the Hindus are subjected to killings, rapes, and exodus from their homeland," a protestor said.

Prashant Kishor to fire 85 percent of his IPAC staff after Bengal election victory, may start a political career in Bihar: Report

Only the core 100-150 people will be retained to carry out political strategising work that Prashant Kishor ked IPAC does.

Himanta Biswa Sarma elected as next Chief Minister of Assam after BJP legislative party meeting

Himanta Biswa Sarma was proposed as the next Chief Minister by outgoing CM Sarbandana Sonowal in the legislative party meeting

China’s ‘out-of-control’ rocket debris disintegrates over the Indian Ocean, lands near the Maldives

Notably, the rocket which is uncontrollably falling back to Earth is the same space module whose launch was gloated upon by a Chinese Communist Party body to mock India's handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Himanta Biswa Sarma favourite to become new Chief Minister of Assam, could take oath on 10th May

Himanta Biswa Sarma, a former Congress leader, joined the BJP in 2015, a year after the general elections.

Recently Popular

Meet AAP’s ‘Delhi ke Nirmata’: Who is Navneet Kalra, the businessman on the run after oxygen hoarding scandal was busted

Oxygen Concentrators have been found at Khan Chacha, Nege & Ju bar and Town Hall restaurants in Delhi, all owned by Navneet Kalra

Arvind Kejriwal govt expels 7 journalists from Whatsapp group after report critical of govt handling of oxygen crisis, senior journalists keep mum

The Arvind Kejriwal government has been the darling of the media for a long time but it seems to want absolute devotion

Comedian Sanket Bhosale who had featured in ad mocking Rahul Gandhi booked for violating Covid-19 norms in Punjab

A week after the vandalism by the Congress workers in Mumbai, the Congress-led Punjab government has now booked comedian Sanket Bhosale, the actor featured in the advertisement, on the pretext of violating Covid-19 regulations during his wedding.

Subramaniam Swamy calls S Jaishankar a ‘waiter’ and says he tested positive for COVID: Netizens fume, EAM clarifies

Subramanian Swamy stoked controversy after he targeted Dr S Jaishankar by referring to him as a 'waiter' and claiming he was COVID positive

Chinese research paper, published 6 years ago by Chinese military backed authors, discussed weaponising Coronavirus: Reports

A 2015 research paper by Chinese scientists reveals nefarious plans to weaponise the SARS Coronavirus against the world.

‘Dominance of one religious group cannot prevent religious celebrations of other’, says Madras HC after local Muslims object to Hindu procession

The Madras High court concluded that similar acts of 'resistance' by other religious groups would result in loss of lives, destruction of properties, riots, religious fights and chaos.
- Advertisement -


Connect with us