Author: Vijendra Agarwal
With possible external threats looming large and at-risk internal security, Modi announced the repeal of the bills and asked the protestors to go home. It is no small coincidence that the U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory asking citizens to not travel in certain areas of India due to China and Pak threats of attack. On the home front, there has been heightened movement of BSF and increased deployment of the military to sensitive areas. In my analysis, the repeal of farm bills was needed and announced because India is faced with a formidable possibility of attacks on both fronts: the LAC of China and the LOC of Pakistan. It appears that Pakistan has intensified the incidences of violent attacks and terrorist activities in Kashmir and the frequency of drones from across the border in Punjab. It is feared that China is funding ISI for Khalistan; the Chinese army and fighter jets are on the move on the border, and China is asking her people to store food.
The irony is that even after the withdrawal of the farm bills, the union leaders want farmers to mark the first anniversary of the agitation against the farm laws on November 26 with tractor rallies across state capitals. Reportedly, they also plan to send 500 farmers in tractors every day to Parliament to protest starting November 29. Modi’s decision of repealing the farm bills is an important chapter in India’s political history. While I stand behind his decision and give him credit for listening to people’s voices in upholding people’s democracy, I wonder to what end? The so-called farmer leaders are already threatening not to return home and putting more demands on the table. They want guaranteed MSP, withdrawal of legal cases against farmers who allegedly violated law and order, compensation to the families who died during the protests, and a memorial for them. While their demands may have justification, their refusal to return home is clearly a sign of dishonoring their own promise. Another equally unfortunate emerging news is that anti-India elements are already talking about people’s protests against CAA, NRC, and Article 370 etc. One can only hope that Modi’s decision does not become a precedence for others to engage in public protests to pressure the government to withdraw the earlier laws.
Why would the Prime Minister announce to repeal the farm bills on the Gurupurab festival, the birthday of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak? He reminded the nation, ‘Vich Duniya Sev Kamaiye, Taan Dargah Baisan Paiyeea’. which means, ‘by taking the path of service to the nation, can life turn out well.’ Modi said that his government has been working sincerely with this sense of service to make people’s lives easy. He apologetically said that since some sections of farmers could not be persuaded about the benefits of the bills, these are being repealed in the best interest of the nation. It is unfortunate that the government had to undo what was done very prudently and voted democratically by the Parliament.
I am appalled that the cheering farmers’ leaders were dancing and distributing sweets, celebrating, and claiming victory. The opposition parties are in a frenzy adding fuel to the fire because Modi’s decision took away their thunder of making farmer protests an issue in the upcoming Assembly elections in the northern states of U.P., Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Haryana. If the protests had continued, it could lead to communal violence similar to what happened in Lakhimpur in U.P. just last month. This strategic decision will silence the political rivals from inciting violence on the shoulders of poor farmers. We can all speculate and debate on why, what, and who was behind the strategy of repealing the farm bills, however, the truth and the whole truth is only known to Modi and some of his close confidants.
There is a group among Sikhs who have been misled for seeking a separate Khalistan state since Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister. The break-India movement by Khalistan believers is squarely aided by Pakistan to avenge the separation of Bangladesh since her time. The movement is also funded by Khalistan-Sikh groups settled overseas (U.K., U.S.A., Canada, and Australia etc.) with Canada being at the forefront. Additionally, the break-India movement is also aided and supported by anti-India groups in the West. Then there is a section of people who never made peace with the enactment of CAA, NRC, removal of article 370, and Triple Talaq etc.
Some of this sensitive and critical information about Punjab is likely revealed by the former Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, who broke away from Congress and met the home minister. He was perhaps aware of internal security threats by Sikhs of Khalistan-camp which nobody else would have known. His discussions with and disclosures to Amit Shah must have been very convincing for Shah to make a strong and persuasive argument to Modi for the repeal of bills.
Generally, the elections are accompanied by political rhetoric everywhere; but India, in the past, has witnessed political rallies turning into violence and communal tensions. It is my belief that the decision to repeal the farm bills is to restore India’s unity against external threats and contain internal communal strife. All I can hope for is that wisdom prevails for India’s unity against any external threats. I am confident that the vigilant law and order personnel will work against the potential for violence and anarchy until the elections are over.
This Article was first published on PGURUS
About the Author:
Vijendra Agarwal, born in village Kota (Saharanpur, U.P), left India in 1973 after Ph.D. (Physics) from IIT Roorkee. A researcher in Italy, Japan, and France, he came to the US in 1978. He was a faculty and academic administrator in several different universities in PA, TX, NJ, MN, WI, and NY, and an Executive Fellow in the White House S&T Policy during the Clinton administration. In November 2014, he and his wife co-founded a US-based NGO, Vidya Gyan, to serve rural India toward education, health, and empowerment of girls and overall development. Vidya Gyan is a calling to give back to rural communities which gave him so much more. His passion for writing includes the interface of policy, politics, and people, and social/cultural activities promoting community engagement.
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