The Delhi police has failed to check violence in the heart of New Delhi, one of which was a firearm attack, and the other a no holds barred physical assault on an eminent Indian — the ordained 80-year old Hindu monk Swami Agnivesh — who was physically attacked for the second time in a month, allegedly by Hindutva elements.
Going by the words spoken by the assailants in both cases, there can be little doubt that they subscribe to an extreme right-wing ideology whose proponents appear to enjoy the indulgence of influential these days.
Thus, while the attacks flow from intolerance and hate that have come to mark our times, the passive attitude of the police force can only leave one astonished.
Swami Agnivesh, a Hindu monk and social reformer who has stood up for the equality of citizenship, was waylaid as he was approaching the BJP national headquarters to pay his last respects to the departed PM Atal Behari Vajpayee. The police — and top BJP leaders — are unlikely to have been far away, but did little. None of this does much credit to the present establishment, in particular the Union home ministry.
Four days before the brazen assault on the Swami, Umar Khalid, a JNU research scholar — who, along with others, is facing sedition charges based on a fake video which elements associated with the ruling party and a section of the media sought to play up with the shrill cry of “anti-national” two years ago — was attacked by a man who shot from a pistol just outside the Constitution Club, near the Parliament House.
These are shocking developments. Videos of the attackers are available in both cases, and also their messages of self-congratulation. A more purposeful police should have had the criminals in the bag by now.