The sequence of events that unfolded on our television screens this weekend first had peaceful protesters at India Gate being lathi-charged and hit with teargas shells by the police. Thereafter, the protests took on the elements of a riot — with some participants turning violent, and then there were reports of a political hijack by the usual suspects.
The conclusion was up to the viewers — mob violence or police brutality, and almost everyone in the social media agreed it was police brutality at its worst, for the entire world to see.
“Cops hitting unarmed citizens with batons. I hope the world is watching the world’s largest democracy in action,” tweeted PS.
“Basically the government is saying — … go protest if you want, but not near India Gate. This part of India is our private property,” tweeted Ramesh Srivats.
“After what I witnessed today [on Sunday], I feel ashamed to be a Delhi citizen! Shame on you police and government! Losers …,” said another Facebook post which had several “likes” to its credit.
Images of women being pulled, beaten up and pushed by policemen caused more anger among the average citizens.
“Male policemen forcefully removing girls. Is it not equivalent to molestation?” tweeted BDUTT.
“Why and who sent all male police force to ‘attack/combat’ a largely women participated Delhi Protest? Why water cannon, tear gas and lathis?” Ratan Maitra asked on Twitter.
Many were very well aware that the protesters were genuine and concerned citizens and that it was only a few unfavourable elements that were violent and misbehaved.
“While most of the crowd at India Gate, including JNUSU [Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union] and Left activists, turned up with genuine outrage to express their loss of faith in the system — a sizeable number of protesters, especially those at the barricades before sunset, were common thugs. There is no other term to describe them,” said another Facebook post.
Actor Anupam Kher’s tweet read: “Authorities are giving a NEW interpretation to Bapu’s three monkeys. They don’t want to LISTEN, TALK or SEE. Sad.” His tweet was re-tweeted several times.
Utter disgust for men in khaki was the most popular sentiment on Sunday, with their every action, even that of shutting down crucial metro stations, being viewed as cowardly.
“Shutting down metro stations? That really has to be stupidity that falls under the “rarest of rare” case,” tweeted Musically Manu.
“… Dar gayi, dar gayi, lathiyon aur cannons wali sarkar dar gayi ....,” was another popular Facebook post.
In contrast, the protesters were lauded as heroes. “Delhi reacting with no political backing ..... Something we have not seen for decades .... the real revolution happens this way ....,” read a Facebook post by one Anita.
However, it was the tweet by one Kalyan that summed up the entire grim situation. “Something’s rotten in the State of Delhi.”