Bharat Bandh — India’s slide into constitutional grey zone where politics decides right or wrong

It is nearly impossible to apply objective constitutional principles to determine rights and wrongs with respect to the ongoing farmers’ protests. And this should concern patriotic Indians.

Ordinarily, coercive public protests and today’s Bharat Bandh cannot be considered constitutional methods and would fall into the category of the “grammar of anarchy” that Dr. B.R. Ambedkar warned us about. But he qualified his disapproval of public protests and satyagraha with the condition that “where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods.” Given how the Narendra Modi government pushed through the agricultural reforms in a truncated session of Parliament, and the infinite wisdom and boundless patience of the judges of the Supreme Court, the protesting farmers can reasonably argue that constitutional methods are too unreliable. But then again, how is it justified for farmers — no matter how legitimate their grievances — to block roads and hold up the lives and livelihoods of other people? Shouldn’t the law be enforced to protect the livelihoods and property of innocent people adversely affected by protests and the Bharat Bandh?

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