Senior Congress leader and close aide of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Mani Shankar Aiyar, has finally graced the protests at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi. Aiyar’s entrance comes after the Delhi Police initiated attempts to clean the area of protesters as residents were suffering due to blockade of roads for a month caused by the protests and the resultant wastage of time and fuel.
— India Today (@IndiaToday) January 14, 2020
A key road between Noida and South East at the area has been closed since December 15 as a large number of people, including women, have been holding a sit-in protest on the road. As a result, the police have cordoned off the road by putting barricades, causing huge traffic jam and forcing the motorists to take longer alternate routes.
At the protests, Aiyar thanked the protesters for ‘saving’ Bharat Mata. He also said, “No one can imagine an India without Islam and Muslims.” He also refered to Modi as ‘Katil’ (murderer), when he said ‘if there is any need to sacrifice, I am also part of that. Now lets see whose hand have more power, us or that murderer’.
#WATCH Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar at the protest against #CAA & #NRC, in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh: Jo bhi qurbaniyan deni hon, usme main bhi shaamil hone ke liye tayaar hun. Ab dekhein ki kiska hath mazboot hai, hamara ya uss kaatil ka? pic.twitter.com/ojV4QU9dMs
— ANI (@ANI) January 14, 2020
However, most interesting is the timing of Aiyar’s entrance at Shaheen Bagh. His entrance comes at a time when the police is trying to peacefully resolve the standoff.
Even more suspiciously, however, Aiyar went to Shaheen Bagh three days after attending an event in Lahore, Pakistan. This is particularly suspicious because the protests have been going on at Shaheen Bagh since the 15th of December and yet, the senior Congress leader went there only three days after he spoke at the ‘ThinkFest’ in Lahore.
Conspicuously enough, Aiyar spoke about the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Pakistani soil. Speaking at a session on “Is Liberal Democracy Dead?”, which is itself ironic given the fact that it was organized in an Islamic State that uses terrorism as state policy, Aiyar again insulted India.
Delighted to unveil the 2 day jam packed and high powered programme of the #ThinkFest2020 at Alhamra, The Mall, Lahore. It starts at 11am on Jan 11 and ends at 7pm on Jan 12. Its open and free for all! @BangashYK @fawadchaudhry @DrMusadikMalik @Mehmal @Mustafa_PPP pic.twitter.com/K5na5dV4Ms
— ThinkFest Pakistan (@ThinkFestPK) January 9, 2020
During the discussion, while Aiyar said that India must not emulate Pakistan’s example by creating a religious state, he said that there was indeed something India could learn from Pakistan. He said, “What India must learn from Pakistan is the smooth way of transfer of power from one democratic government to another in the last three general elections.” Aiyar’s comment is rather shocking given the nature of Democracy in Pakistan. The transfer of power after elections in India have been always smooth, while in Pakistan democratic governments have been replaced by military rule multiple times. So it is not sure what India has to learn from Pakistan in this regard.
In another discussion in which Sadanand Dhume participated in as well, themed around “India’s Populist Revolution”, Aiyar expressed great ‘despair’ at the turn India was taking and spoke extensively on the Citizenship Amendment Act and the NRC and spread lies and distortions on the subject. He denigrated Hindutva and claimed that Narendra Modi had given a ‘Triple Talaq’ to the Muslim community.
The discussion with Sadanand Dhume happened on the 12th of January as per the schedule. The schedule, however, does not mention Aiyar as a speaker in this particular discussion. The ThinkFest was also attended by numerous Pakistani ministers, including the Minister of Science and Technology, Fawad Hussain who justified slapping a journalist during the panel discussion he participated in. The event was organized over two days, the 11th and the 12th of January.
Aiyar’s entry into Shaheen Bagh protests merely a couple of days after attending an event in Pakistan is particularly troubling as, in the past, he had sought Pakistan’s help in order to oust Narendra Modi from the Prime Minister’s seat and help Congress return to power. He has denigrated India and praised Pakistan on Pakistani soil on several occasions in the past.
Shaheen Bagh is the same place where ‘Jinnah wali Azadi‘ slogans were raised by the protesters against the Citizenship Amendment Act, hinting at the Radical Islamic inclinations of the protesters. It is pertinent to remember that Aiyar, again in Lahore, had hailed Jinnah and condemned Veer Savarkar during an event two years ago.