Communalism – As You Sow, So Shall You Reap

Vipin Pubby

Vipin Pubby

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The government should send out the signal that all citizens of the country have equal rights and that communal harmony must be maintained.

But by far the biggest and the most serious challenge that is confronting the nation is the spread of communalism and polarisation of the society. This slow poisoning is deeply, and increasing violently, dividing the society and causing mistrust among communities.

communal politicsIt has not only turned good friends into political foes even though they belong to the same community, but has also divided families. Die-hard supporters of a particular party or ideology are not prepared to listen to the other point of view.

The deepening divide in the society has forced childhood friends to part company. Social media platforms reflect the rot within the society with hate mongers jumping into the fray even at slightest of excuse.

It is this poisoning of the society that is reflected in the two unfortunate incidents that took place during the last week. The two incidents are unrelated but are rooted in the politics of hate and communal disharmony.

One was the targeted firing by a Railway Protection Force constable. In a fit of rage, reportedly due to denial of leave, he shot down his senior, ASI Teeka Ram Meena, and then picked up three persons of a particular community and shot them dead.

communalBefore selecting his targets he asked the passengers in the running train about their religion. He then abused them and said they had no place in India.

The accused has been arrested and it is now being said that he was mentally imbalanced. How could the para military force not detect earlier that he was mentally disturbed. Should it have handed over a dangerous weapon to such a person.

After killing his superior, who belonged to his own community, he turned his attention to members of only the other community. Evidently he had been brainwashed for a long time and his deep hate towards members of that community resulted in selective killing of members of that community.

Unfortunately this was not one off incident and one can expect many more in the future.

The other incident, which took at least five lives and left a trail of destruction, emanated from Nuh in Haryana. The state government and the local authorities have a lot to answer for the loss of lives, including those of two para military personnel, for the inept handling of the situation.

The organisers of the procession, Brij Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra, had been taking out the Yatra for about four years and there had not been any untoward incident.

Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal supporters burn an effigy during a protest against the violence in Haryana’s Nuh district. Photo courtesy: PTI

However this time, tension had started to build a few days before the Yatra was scheduled. Provocative messages were amplified through social media. It was evident to everyone in the area, except the authorities, that tension was building up but no action was taken.

The video recorded message of self proclaimed cow vigilante Monu Manesar, who is wanted in the killing of two Muslim youth for their alleged involvement in cow smuggling, set the ball rolling.

Obviously the minority community was agitated by his actions and his declaration that he would be part of the procession was enough grounds for plans hatched to attack the procession.

To top it all the authorities allowed those taking out the procession to openly carry guns and swords. This further fuelled anger. Why should a social or religious procession have members carrying arms.

The result of the clash is there for all of us to see and violence has spread to neighbouring areas too. The administration was caught napping and action must be taken against those who turned a blind eye to the developments.

As I said earlier, the two incidents are unconnected but the thought process leading to the incidents is the same. This is the result of injecting communal hatred and the deafening silence of the top government authorities.

The least they can do to undo the damage is to reach out to the minorities and thereby send out the signal that all citizens of the country have equal rights and that communal harmony must be maintained.

In the absence of such initiatives, all the development being undertaken in the country and all the efforts being made to strengthen the economy would come to a naught. We can’t afford to drag the country backwards even as we are reaching out to the moon and beyond. punjab


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Vipin Pubby

Vipin Pubby

The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.

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