Speak loudly and carry a big stick

The agitating Jats in Haryana set up blockades. They set buses and motorbikes ablaze, ransacked a parliamentarian’s house, attacked police chowkis, and took control of a water canal supplying 3/5 of Delhi’s water. At least a dozen people died. All this to make that most national of demands — more quotas. Rajnath Singh, the home minister, the man who threatened the “strongest possible action” against students shouting slogans at JNU, has also responded to the Jat agitation with alacrity. He has met with Jat leaders. He has declared a bill would be moved soon in the Haryana Assembly so Jats can get Other Backward Class status. He has formed a committee. He has appealed for peace and calm.

The Indian state has made it amply clear. It listens to the mob. Speak loudly AND carry a big stick and the home minister will meet you more than halfway. Merely chant slogans loudly and you can be charged with sedition, videos of your speeches doctored and played on prime time television, and you can be beaten up by lawyers in a courthouse.

That is how Sandip Roy leads into a piece comparing the Modi government’s handling of two contemporary flashpoints. Read.

Also — what you say on Twitter and what you don’t is no real index of what your priorities are. But this is a party that, during the run-up to the 2014 elections, was constantly questioning the then government on its silence on various issues.

From that perspective, Rajnath Singh’s Twitter stream is revelatory. Much sound and fury on JNU:

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Some gentle cooing on the Jat riots:

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And not a yip about Pampore — where actual terrorists actually attacked a government building on Indian soil.

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