There were many agitations by Gurjars in Rajasthan, Patel community in Gujrat for reservation, Jat community in Haryana and such many more. It is their right to gather and agitate for their demand. Constitution has given right to citizen to peacefully agitate, demonstrate, gather, oppose, meet etc.
One agitation had blocked one of the busiest Railway line in country and one National Highway. Lacs of people were badly impacted by this. Trains were not reaching on timing, many of them got cancelled and various tickets got cancelled. It caused huge loss to Indian Railways. They have destroyed various Govt properties, burnt shops, hawker thelas of poor people and caused crore of rupees loss to Govt and people.
A person’s freedom and rights stops when it enters someone else boundary. This rule applies to these demonstrations as well. The right to demonstration, agitation, protest, gathering has duty of not disturbing others, must be peaceful, can’t enter into the freedom and rights of others, can’t harm private and public properties.
It is very common in our country. Student leaders, politicians organise rally in city, supporters block various busy roads in city, loot small shops/hawkers, and tease ladies. There are thousands of such examples around. If people want to demonstrate for missing electricity in area or any other minor issue the common characteristics are:
- Block nearest major road, market or track and disturb as many people as possible
- Burn/damage buses, trains, private cars, thelas, tyres on roads
- Burn/damage Govt buses, public property
- Tease/harass girls and threaten/beat people around
- Loot shops, hawkers
- Never care about disturbance and loss to people around, private and Govt properties
- They together feel powerful and demonstrate misuse of power, uncontrolled mob behaviour
- Attack police and burn/damage police vehicles
- Clash with police/Para-military forces, causing injuries and loss of life of common man, protestors and police force. This loss of life is irreparable to his family. While on the other hand leaders manage to gain whether demand is met or not.
- If Govt arrests some of those for doing wrong then negotiate to release them, drop cases, demand big compensation if someone loses life in clash with other group or police
Why do people do this? Is Govt machinery seems to be deaf and insensitive so until such big disturbance is caused they don’t listen to peaceful voice? Why people don’t go for peaceful demonstration, fasting and other kind of peaceful agitations approved by law and adopted by father of nation Mahatma Gandhi? Will this method take more time in reaching to Govt ears? Will media coverage be small in such cases? There are people like Medha Patkar who has protested peacefully several times. Do our state capitals also need Delhi Jantar-Mantar kind of place for peaceful demonstration?
Why Govt not have such methodologies and technologies to identify people who are not doing peaceful demonstration and breaking law? They should identify such people and prosecute quickly under relevant sections to set example. Few of good ideas can be like installing CCTV cameras around demonstration areas, on police vehicles, appreciate common man to record video, may use drones, identify people through mobile tracking, use coloured water spray on them and identify. Even NGOs and volunteers should come forward to spread message of peaceful demonstration.
I was in UK when students were protesting against university fee hike. One of the protestor went to the roof of 4 floor building and dropped a small plant pot (ghamla). It didn’t hit anybody but the protestor was prosecuted and within few weeks sentenced 4 years rigorous imprisonment. Court argued this individual did an act which could have taken someone’s life even. He violated his right of peaceful demonstration. Why do our Govt machinery and courts not do something similar?
Once some ladies had started online campaign against a big retailer in UK and finally company CEO had to apologise and accept their point. They didn’t come on roads at all still achieved desired result. Our people need to learn peaceful demonstration and agitation methods. Even they may come with various innovative methods using available resources today like social media used in this example.