Against the backdrop of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s uninspiring speech, and Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s disparaging comments about protesters — equating them with Maoists — the future of Delhi protests appears bleak, with a couple of issues threatening to take the spotlight away from the original cause.
In a letter to the Union home ministry, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dixit has alleged that the Delhi police are trying to dilute the gang rape case. To add credence to her allegations, she has also attached the letter of Usha Chaturvedi, the sub divisional magistrate (SDM), which says the police have tried to influence the victim’s statement. Not one to be outsmarted, police commissioner Neeraj Kumar has refuted the allegations, issuing a host of denials with equal fervour.
Amid such confusion and blame game, the spontaneous demand of the people that had galvanised different sections of the society, is likely to be buried. For the establishment, this must be godsend, a wonderful opportunity to play politics, bide time, and deflect attention from the real issue, while secretly praying for the protests to peter out.
The death of Subhash Tomar, the Delhi police constable who had suffered injuries during a skirmish with protestors, is unfortunate. DNA once again appeals to people to maintain peace, and stop lumpens from orchestrating violence.
If the momentum for change, built over a week, loses steam, it could be years, before the government is faced with a similar challenge to ‘act’. Should we allow that to happen; squander away this opportunity, and give in to a game of political upmanship? It’s for the people of this country, especially those who have braved Delhi’s chill, lathi charge and water canons, to decide.