Ignore, Then Attack: How to Tackle an Indian Protest


Ignore, Then Attack: How to Tackle an Indian Protest

Illustration: Akshita Monga


rotests in India are like loan defaulters, there’s a new one every week these days. It’s a beautiful, democratic way to put forth your point after all other means have failed. As we see more of them, you’d imagine the state would get better at responding to them. But sarkars are known for sticking to archaic procedures and an inability to learn.

The poor chain of decision-making was visible in its full glory at the protests in Tuticorin over the Sterlite copper smelting plant. For years, activists have been protesting the air pollution and contamination of soil and groundwater. But things came to a head recently when security personnel decided to take matters in their hands, by firing at peaceful protesters. The attack, which has been labelled a “modern-day Jallianwala Bagh”, led to the death of 13 people and left 102 wounded.