Is it Ethical for Kejriwal to Refuse Police Protection?

Kejriwal is a bit theological when He brings his faith in God to issues of personal security.

But, what about the police concerns? Obviously, there is no atheistic prong of approach taken. Nobody seems to have hurled a skeptical or agnostic concern arguing that we don’t know if God exists and if He does whether He is interested enough in the affairs of mortal men. Not that India is not ripe for atheism; but, I think it has tried and abandoned atheism in the far distant past. We are a people, despite the various religious traditions, who believe in the Supreme God. In the past few decades we have also learnt to not mix organized religion with politics. When religion is politicized, religion is polluted, instantly. History stands as witness to this fact that where politics became custodian of a particular strand of religion, the religious spirit was violated. However, this doesn’t disallow politicians from being religious. It is better for a politician to be a believer in the God of mercy and justice than to fall prey to the merciless ethics of a Nietzschean universe (Nietzsche pronounced God as dead in the 19th century and painted hopes of the rise of a Superman who would be above ethics; Hitler’s desire to fulfill it is still a dark blot on the timeline of history, a disgrace to humanity). But, of course, a politician’s faith must not in anyway compromise the freedom of spirit in the right to faith – God Himself allows us that freedom; if not, humanity would be one soup of religion.. We’ve noted elsewhere (God and Politics in Secular India) that God and politics are not strangers; and, there is a way of speaking of God as being secularly involved in history (i.e. unecclesiastically: the New Testament supports the division of religion and state). Certainly, Kejriwal’s faith in God is strong. Is it fatalism? He will need to answer that. But, his actions are certainly too vociferously anti-fatalist: he believes that the future of India CAN BE CHANGED. Perhaps, his confidence in God is an affirmation of divine sovereignty. God is in control and nothing escapes His omniscient ordering of the world. He has publicly argued in the Parliament that nothing can harm him if it’s God’s will to keep him on earth and nothing can save him (not even the biggest legions of security) if it’s God’s will to take him away.

So, it’s not atheism or fatalism that the police is bothered about. Certainly, it’s their sense of duty and responsibility. They are meant to ensure the protection of the city; and, one important step in this order is to protect the head of the state. But, Kejriwal is revulsive to this idea. He doesn’t want to be seen as the head; he has repeatedly affirmed that it is the people of the nation who are the rulers. He hates the notion of a government ruling over the people. So, his argument is quite cogent. The police cannot aristocratize security – he doesn’t believe in the VIP culture, after all. But, shouldn’t security be prioritized? Is the security of the soldier in combat less important than the security of the leader? What would a doctor say about this (I mean an ethically responsible doctor, not the one sold to avarice)? If the lives of two humans are in danger, one a politician and the other a “common man”, and he has to prioritize, whose would he save first? Is it a matter of aristocrizing or prioritizing? But who decides the value of anybody’s life? To Kejriwal, the life of the common man is more important.

But, there is another hook. The police claim that they have received intelligence about threat to the life of Kejriwal and so are constrained to prioritize security. Kejriwal is not just skeptical about this; he is more pronounced about his convictions. Let’s quote a few lines from the Hindustan Times here:

Hours after reports emerged that terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM) was planning to abduct Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi chief minister refused to accept any form of security cover and said the Delhi Police were playing politics along with the central government.

“Is delhi police n central govt playing politics with my security? (sic)” Kejriwal tweeted. “Police officials met me in afternoon. Informed me abt threat. Asked me not to disclose it to media. Den dey themselves went and told media,” he sent out another tweet minutes later.

He said the police had themselves compromised his security. “By announcing this, haven’t police made me vulnerable. Now anyone can attack and it wud be said that Bhatkal’s men did it.”

Kejriwal, who had earlier turned down Z-category cover by the Ghaziabad Police, reiterated that he won’t accept any cover despite the IM threat. “I am not afraid of my life. As i said, i strongly believe in God. Will not take any security,” one of his tweets read.

Denying the Z-cover security earlier, Kejriwal had said, “I don’t need security, the aam aadmi (common man) needs security”. He stressed his demand for security to the ‘aam aadmi’ again on Sunday. “I wud urge police to stop playing politics. Rather than giving security to me, let them deploy these men for aam aadmi’s security,” he told his Twitter followers on Sunday.

Obviously, if it is true that the police have received such intelligence, then it becomes their responsibility to act in accordance to such intelligence. Certainly, if anything does happen to Kejriwal, the police will become answerable; and they must have the confidence to say that they had done everything that could be done to ensure protection. But, perhaps Kejriwal also wishes to say that if the innocent little ones in the city are not protected, if a young girl on the streets of Delhi is not protected, if the poor find no protection from the police, he doesn’t want their protection either. God is enough for him.

____________________________

Few Pertinent Quotes on Politics and Religion by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The right way to requite evil, according to Jesus, is not to resist it. This saying of Christ removes the Church from the sphere of politics and law. The Church is not to be a national community like the old Israel, but a community of believers without political or national ties. The old Israel had been both — the chosen people of God and a national community, and it was therefore his will that they should meet force with force. But with the Church it is different: it has abandoned political and national status, and therefore it must patiently endure aggression. Otherwise evil will be heaped upon evil. Only thus can fellowship be established and maintained.

By willing endurance we cause suffering to pass. Evil becomes a spent force when we put up no resistance. By refusing to pay back the enemy with his own coin, and preferring to suffer without resistance, the Christian exhibits the sinfulness of contumely and insult. Violence stands condemned by its failure to evoke counter-violence.

By his willingly renouncing self-defence, the Christian affirms his absolute adherence to Jesus, and his freedom from the tyranny of his own ego. The exclusiveness of this adherence is the only power which can overcome evil.

Jesus is no draughtsman of political blueprints, he is the one who vanquished evil through suffering. It looked as though evil had triumphed on the cross, but the real victory belonged to Jesus. And the cross is the only justification for the precept of non-violence, for it alone can kindle a faith in the victory over evil which will enable men to obey that precept. And only such obedience is blessed with the promise that we shall be partakers of Christ’s victory as well as his sufferings.

The great masquerade of evil has played havoc with all our ethical concepts. For evil to appear disguised as light, charity, historical necessity or social justice is quite bewildering to anyone brought up on out traditional ethical concepts, while for the Christian who bases his life on the Bible, it merely confirms the fundamental wickedness of evil. The “reasonable” people’s failure is obvious. With the best intentions and a naive lack of realism, they think that with a little reason they can bend back into position the framework that has got out of joint. In their lack of vision they want to do justice to all sides, and so the conflicting forces wear them down with nothing achieved. Disappointed by the world’s unreasonableness, they see themselves condemned to ineffectiveness; they step aside in resignation or collapse before the stronger party.
Still more pathetic is the total collapse of moral fanaticism. Fanatics think that their single-minded principles qualify them to do battle with the powers of evil; but like a bull they rush at the red cloak instead of the person who is holding it; he exhausts himself and is beaten. He gets entangled in non-essentials and falls into the trap set by cleverer people.

Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God — the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God. Where are these responsible people?

We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds: we have been drenched by many storms; we have learnt the arts of equivocation and pretence; experience has made us suspicious of others and kept us from being truthful and open; intolerable conflicts have worn us down and even made us cynical. Are we still of any use? What we shall need is not geniuses, or cynics, or misanthropes, or clever tacticians, but plain, honest, straightforward men. Will our inward power of resistance be strong enough, and our honesty with ourselves remorseless enough, for us to find our way back to simplicity and straightforwardness?

There remains an experience of incomparable value. We have for once learned to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of the outcasts, the suspects, the maltreated — in short, from the perspective of those who suffer. Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behavior. Christians are called to compassion and to action.

…there are three possible ways in which the church can act toward the state: the first place, as has been said, it can ask the state whether its actions are legitimate and in accordance with its character as state, i.e., it can throw the state back on its responsibilities. Second, it can aid the victims of state action. The church has an unconditional obligation to the victims of any ordering of society, even if they do not belong to the Christian community. “Do good to all people.” In both these courses of action, the church serves the free state in its free way, and at times when laws are changed the church may in no way withdraw itself from these two tasks. The third possibility is not just to bandage the victims under the wheel, but to jam a spoke in the wheel itself.

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