Modi’s India has recorded another chapter in fascism, this time it’s the district of Lakhimpur with a substantial Sikh population in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni is the central figure in the current crisis. The farmers have named Ashish Mishra, son of Ajay Mishra, who can clearly be seen crushing Sikh farmers under his jeep in a viral video circulating on the internet.
Later, the angry farmers burnt the jeep and lynched four of the BJP activists to death; imagine this happening in Pakistan, the heaven may have fallen within 24 hours. But in Modi’s India, it’s just another law and order issue by the fringe. The farmers have given the government of UP one week to arrest the son of Ajay Mishra, failing which they will call for a nationwide protest. Finally, the Supreme Court of India had to jump in, taking suo moto action and issuing notices to all parties involved.
What the UP government did after the incident was typical fascism, they shut down the internet in the area so that no journalists could share their live stories, the entry of political leaders of opposition into Lakhimpur was banned and Godi media went into overdrive to deflect the attention away from the horrendous incident.
The rise of Yogi Adityanth is a calibrated move by the RSS to prepare him for his next role in the centre. UP, as the largest Indian state, has symbolic value as well as political weight as a trendsetter. Yogi has been very vocal against Muslims and other minorities, he has openly called for India to be enshrined as a Hindu Rashtra, was a leading figure in building the Ram Temple and had the audacity to state, “if given a chance, I will install statues of Goddesses Gauri, Ganesh and Nandi in every mosque”. Despite being a core member of BJP, Yogi has maintained a strong grip on his militant youth wing, Hindu Yuva Vahini and has imposed absurd concepts like ‘Love Jihad’ and ‘Gao Rakhsha’ through this terrorist outfit and its offshoots across UP and India.
UP has seen increasing violence against Muslims, tribal communities and minorities under Yogi. The Sikh kissan factor has been predominant in the Lakhimpur tragedy; BJP thugs like Ajay Mishra claimed that the Sikhs protesting in Lakhimpur were holding placards with pictures of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, implying that killing them was justified. The Modi government has brought the Sikh factor into focus in the recent past, denying the farmers of Punjab and Haryana their rights and rejecting their call during farmers’ protests is in a way a ploy to test the Sikh resolve and bring them under the tutelage of the RSS ideology by force. The Lakhimpur incident may have been deliberately triggered to test the resolve of Sikh community.
The opposition has turned the Lakhimpur incident into a rallying point. Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav from the opposition have visited the grieved families; the tragedy has started resonating in Indian Punjab and Haryana, the Sikh diaspora across the world has also condemned the continuation of fascist policies of the BJP.
Can Lakhimpur become a turning point in UP politics and affect Lok Sabha politics in the future? This is a difficult question to answer.
The opposition remains divided and has not been able to create a visible dent in the BJP’s vote bank. The BJP’s grassroots penetration and its on-ground lynch mobs have used terror tactics to persuade minorities that BJP is the only solution to their local problems. Godi media and RSS WhatsApp bhakts make sure that the game of perception management is played and managed 24/7 and the public remains bewildered and puzzled.
Modi’s routine work is telecasted daily through all mediums of the media and his slogan of ‘Sab Changa Si’ (all is well) has become the norm in BJP’s political manoeuvring. While Modi remains media savvy, he has never addressed an open press conference as the Prime Minister of the so called largest democracy.