Law and Order

A nation that allows anarchic forces to run riot will soon disintegrate.

Today, we celebrated Republic Day. The day our constitution came into force after years of discussion and negotiation. I do not think the members of the Constituent Assembly would have anticipated the sorry, incapable way in which our leaders would succumb to mob pressures and ignore the enforcement of sections of law so carefully laid down by them in the years to follow. In a macabre way, it has taken the invasion of the Red Fort by so-called farmers who have attempted to run over policemen with tractors and beaten them to pulp, to bring the incompetence of a democratic state in enforcing the rule of law into sharp focus.

This is certainly not the first time such things have happened. Delhi has been facing such anarchic situations routinely in the past years. Be it the anti-CAA protests that were allowed to degenerate into ghastly riots, or the occupation of public roads by protestors at Shaheen Baug, or the sealing of Singhu border of Delhi for the past two months, the Indian state seems unwilling and incompetent to enforce the rule of law.

It has sound political reasons to do so: keeping quiet and letting rioters run loose exposes the protests for what they actually are. Actually doing something to maintain law and order can have unpleasant political consequences due to the perverted manner in which any such action is projected onto mass media by the powerful leftist cabal. Consequently, the last thing any government would want to do is be seen as attacking protesting farmers.

But there will be a price to pay for inaction on every such incident where mobs are allowed to riot freely, and that price will be paid by the integrity of the Indian nation. The government is thereby emboldening people who, by blocking public conveniences, can bring it to the negotiating table with outrageous demands that cannot and often should not be met. It encourages anarchists to resort to violence for bringing the government to heel. It shows the common man that law is applicable only for those who choose to follow it, thereby creating perverse incentive for law-breaking and descent into further anarchy.

The governments of the day have tried to take the easy way out by hiding behind court orders. Well, this time the Court has sent out a stinging reminder of the political consequences of doing so and refused to play along. As a result, India, on the day its constitution came into force, looks weaker than ever in being capable of maintaining the security and safety of its own citizens from rioting mobs. It seems that the death of hundreds of citizens in the anti-CAA riots was not enough to send home the message: the way to tackle mobs is to show them the full force of the power of the state, at the first instance any attempt is made to break the law and incite violence.

Enforcing law and order is not something to shy away from for any nation that wants to send out confidence in its people, and in outsiders who would like to invest in the country. Lack of political will or paralysis due to fear of consequences, or being politically correct for that matter, can no longer be accepted as a reason to let the most important symbols of nationhood be desecrated in full public view.

I hope against hope that this advice would be heeded by the people in power. Some things cannot be compromised upon. Law and order is one of the key edifices on which a nation is built. If it goes, the nation goes.