Brazil: Riot Coup and Lessons for India

And now every body is keen to know what has happened in Brazil and why Modi has tweeted and called for restoration of democratic traditions. Inherent to this is the respect for democratic institutions. Even though Lula is leftist in ideology while BJP is a rightist party.

NewsBharati    14-Jan-2023 10:21:36 AM   
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How many of us know about Brazil? Why should we be really interested to know? Brazil is member state of BRICS and that rings the bell for Indians. It is a democracy. Jair Bolsonaro, last President belonging to Far Rightist party lost lections against Lula who belongs to the leftist party. Supporters of Bolsonaro refused to accept the elections of the result and stormed buildings of Congress, Supreme Court and Presidential place on last Sunday, thus creating a total mayhem in the capital. Police acted upon and rioters were thrown out. More than 200 of them have been arrested.
In fact, rioters called for military intervention to either restore power to Jair Bolsonaro or oust Lula out from presidency.
Modi tweeted.
And now every body is keen to know what has happened in Brazil and why Modi has tweeted and called for restoration of democratic traditions. Inherent to this is the respect for democratic institutions. Even though Lula is leftist in ideology while BJP is a rightist party.
Now, Tweeter is abuzz with lot many news.

Now, I have posted two tweets, Aabid Mir Magami is one of the office bearers of Indian Youth Congress and in-charge of Punjab as per this handle and his point is self-explanatory about J&K. Now, the points which he has mentioned are not invalid but where is the context and why it has happened. Social media gives you advantage to shape a narrative without context. Fact is that Article 370 has been abrogated through Indian Parliament. He has been countered by Rajiv Jakhar. Are the people happy about the entire situation now? Apparently, it looks Rajiv Jhakar has a valid counter argument. Why should not we believe our own institutions? Who creates disbelief in the mind of office bearer of oldest party of India? Let us have a look on another thought processor.
Here comes my question as posed by this Tweeter handle? Is India as vulnerable as Brazil to mayhem, mobs capturing the building and taking the country to ransom, appealing to Military to restore previous government? What happened when anti CAA agitators sit on the Dharna in Shaheen Bagh and could have repeated the same model all over India, had the UP govt not been tough with them and set the example for all other states. Now, I will come to other point? What was the role of Supreme Court? Supreme Court appointed a committee of two senior SC advocates to negotiate with agitators i.e., Santosh Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran about shifting to the alternate sites which they refused. Protestors were blocking the road and making the life of commuters difficult leading to loss of resources, time and money.

“Right to protests has been recognised world over in democracies, especially in India. It is a fundamental right subject only to public order and security of state,” said Justice KM Joseph.

Now, where were the rights of people who suffered because they could not use the road and wasted their time and money? Invariably one will find that protestors are very well organised and connected with total echo system working in their favour internally and externally as one has seen during Shaheen Bagh protests. Sufferers, daily commuters are amorphous body unless they organise themselves. Once they organise, protestors lose the bargaining power. Question is about the role of SC; they could not order the government to remove the road block and move the protestors to alternate sites. Agitation lost the steam because people largely saw the designs of echo system over a period of time. No body has been punished for establishment of road block illegally and that is the irony. Supreme Court advocates pleading with protestors was a pathetic sight. It shows that state has lost the guts. SC earned no glory either.

What about the farm agitation? Who passed the farm laws? again Indian Parliament? Why the protestors were given the free hand to occupy Delhi borders for more than a year. It is fine if you are doing for political purpose but state cannot and should not allow agitators to make life of fellow citizens miserable. Protests are subject to public order and no body should be allowed to take fellow citizens for a ride.

Let us assume a situation in which farmers or these anti CAA protestors could have occupied the place Infront of Parliament. What position govt would have taken than? Are the ordinary citizens and their convenience a throw away item?

Do you think that these situations develop overnight? The answer is NO. These people break the will of state institutions first. Once the institutions are compromised psychologically, rest of the things become so easy. How do they do that? Shaheen Bagh was an experiment, Modi said that time also. Illegal actions are followed by agitation, putting ladies and children ahead so that police feel helpless.

Haldwani experiment is already on, so many other experiments are waiting to happen. SC has done no justice to its reputation by giving stay order on Haldwani encroachment. Same SC has given orders to remove the encroachers from forest land in Ballabhgarh, Haryana.

Who creates the disbelief in the mind of people against the ruling govt? Irresponsible political parties and inefficient state institutions. Haldwani is a classic case where Congress primarily helped the encroachers to grab the land illegally, carry out construction and be a vote bank for Congress party. Same situation you will find in so many states, West Bengal and Assam are prime examples where land has been grabbed by illegal migrants and anti-nationalists. The narrative is set that ruling party is just having 37% of votes and undemocratic/ autocratic, in its functioning, using majoritarianism to subjugate people and institutions. So, why to give respect to this govt? Questions on the Indian Army and its legitimate operations and creating a divide between Army and public is one such effort, which is being repeatedly made by Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders.

Leaders like Rahul Gandhi and so many others like Mamata Didi do all in their powers to propagate this narrative that govt does not command legitimacy hence it should be either changed or over ruled, if not through votes than on road. In any case, where ever it is possible, violence will be resorted to if state protection is there as happened in West Bengal before and after elections. It is happening in so many other states. Victim card is also played through deft use of media including international media which is readily available. Channels like Al Jazeera, RT, or Turkey Channels will harp on human rights and Indian democracy without looking inside their own country.

So, what are the lessons for India? First of all, please do not think that India is immune to these situations. No body thought of Shaheen Bagh before it actually occurred. Anti-nationalist has no sanctity for our institutions and will either put them under pressure or make the best use of them to pressurise the govt and subjugate other institutions. Stay order on Haldwani is one such example. Opposition leaders encourage these anti nationalists for short term gains. We have vulnerable sections of society who have to be engaged with proper narrative and adherence to rule of law. Tweet by Modi is a clear message that institutions have to be respected. It is message to state institutions and public to adhere to rule of law. Institutions have to enforce the rules of games.

The monopoly of state on violence must be strengthened but it has to be carefully used to subjugate law breakers as done in UP. Existing laws are adequate to enforce will of state if political executive is strengthened by law abiding citizens. We should do that.

Col Virendra Kumar

Col Virendra Kumar, a Military Veteran with 27 years of Army , alumni of Pantnagar, IIM Bangalore , Symbiosis Pune ,wears multiple hats . He has got national and international exposure during his Army tenures and corporate stint with leading US MNC He is passionate about Military history , Indian history , national and international affairs .