So he thinks – National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. For a phase in his life, he too was ‘civil society’, which he, now, says is the “new frontier of war”. Civil society, he warns, can be “suborned and manipulated” to hurt India’s interests. Of course, Doval is establishment, now at odds with civilsociety as civil society is at odds with the establishment.

But dangerous words from Doval, nevertheless. Heshould have known where he was, and to whom he was
speaking to with such inflammatory words. Should anygovernment of the day take civil society as enemy, and not just capable of, but also willing to mount a fourthgenerationwar against the state?

Iscivil society always theenemy? Ajit Doval should explain. He owes it to the people. Of course, he owes his current position in government to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But should the NSA’s brief include protecting the government from civil society dissent/critics?
Does it mean dissent is a national security threat, when it probably is nothing more than genuine disagreement with a policy strand of the dispensation in power? Like the three farm laws. Besides the raw rustic farmers, their calloused palms ruling them out of the circle of civil society, the three farm laws are vehemently opposed by busloads of so-called intelectuals – members of civil society.

Of course, civil society is not one solid monolithic. IfAdmiral LRamdas is civil society, then historianDr. Kapil Kumar is also civil society. And the two do not see eye to eye. But by Doval’s definition, Ramdas and Yogendra Yadav are ‘civil society’ who needs to be protected and, perchance, disciplined. The two and their intellectual circle are the new “frontier of war” and they can be “subverted, suborned, divided and manipulated to hurt the interests of a nation.”

NSA Ajit Doval spent years inside Pakistan in disguise and he likes to be always at war. If there is no war, hewillfind one or imagine one. Doval doesn’t seem to get it that the ‘SaasBhiKabhieBahuThi’ syndrome applies to him, too KyunkiAjit Doval Bhi Kabhie CivilSocietytha! Without doubt, it must be Doval who must havetold Modi that Yogendra Yadav has beenmanipulated byKhalistanis!

So, what is Ajit Doval’s beefwithcivil society? “The new frontiers of war, what you call the fourth-generation warfare, is the civil society,” he said, adding that the wars like we used to know aren’t effective instruments to achieve political or military objectives, they are expensive and unaffordable. Their outcomes are
uncertain. “But it is the civil society that can be subverted, suborned, divided and manipulated to hurt the interests of a nation.You are there to see they stand fully protected.”

The last sentence there is the gem: “You are there to see they stand protected.” It is a neat juxta- positioning of roles. One would have thought civil society – assuming that allmembers ofcivilsociety would be impartialand independent – would be the ones who will protect the police and the bureaucracy from being “subverted, suborned, divided and manipulated.”

But, lest we forget, Ajit Doval looks at civil society from his side of the divide. He stands with the government. Heconfabulates with the establishment. He cannot agree with civil society. If he does, he will be in disagreement with the government. Outcome: He wil no longer be in government. NSA Ajit Doval was addressing passing out IPS probationers at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad, and he has put some food for thought in their impressionable heads.

Very soon, these newly minted IPS will be out in the country holding
responsible police positions and they have beenwarned by NSAAjit Doval to be aware of the fourth generation war with civil society. Doval has told them that it is their duty now to “protect” the very vulnerable members of civil society and kind of protection he alludes to could be unpleasant. But both civil societyand IPS probationers should be beholden to NSAAjit Doval.

At one point, the NSA told the IPS probationers, “You are for India and India is for you. Every other identity gets subsumed to this Indianidentity.” He spoke of “service to the nation” and “nation- building” – above all “national security”. ForAjit Dovalthe essence of democracy is not in the balot box, it’s in the laws made by people elected through ballot boxes. Ajit Doval, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security czar, told the police probationers of their role, about what sort of IPS they should transform to: “People cannot be safe where lawmen are weak, corrupt and partisan. There can be no nation without rule of law, and civil society ought to be protected from getting manipulated.”Some would sayNSA Ajit Doval defined and described the contours of a police state to theyoung IPS cadres.

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