Coercion passes off as farmers’ protest

Ravi Shanker Kapoor |

A sugarcane field

Opposition is hypocritical over Essential Commodities Act

Coercion by any other name is still coercion. But farmers are holy cows in political debate and public discourse, so whatever they do has to be borne without complaints. They are allowed to choke the national capital, inconveniencing millions of people and affecting the economy.

“Farmers protesting at Delhi-Ghazipur border against the three contentious agricultural laws have warned that they will amplify the protest by blocking more roads and choking supply of food products to the national capital if another round of discussion between them and the central government fails to yield results on Saturday,” the reported.

But how can any discussion yield results if one party—the protestors, in this case—is not interested in the resolution of the issue? Quite apart from the spuriousness of their demands, which we will discuss in another article, there is the matter of the manner of protest. In a democracy, every individual and group have the right to protest, but it has to be peaceful. Further, it should not be at the expense of others: your right to protest is circumscribed by my right to live my life freely.

But the farmers’ agitation is neither peaceful nor circumscribed by any constraints and restraints. Their leaders are following a simple motto: my way or the highway. Or, to be precise, if you don’t accept my demands, I will occupy all highways, thus making life miserable for everybody else. This is exactly what they are doing in and around Delhi.

On top of everything, they have the cheek to present themselves as the victims of injustice perpetrated by the Narendra Modi government in cahoots with ‘corporates’—an atrocious Indianism for ‘corporations.’ Worse, many people, including a large section in the mainstream media, is buying this false narrative. A lot of people are helping the farmers who have besieged the national capital. The truth is that the real victims are the people in the national capital region. Such is the power of misinformation and mythologizing that the excesses of the farmers’ agitation are not even criticized in the public domain. Consequently, coercion passes off as protest.

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