Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Ugly Face of Communal Politics

“Ek bhay hoga unke andar. Hamara terror hoga unke upar, unke gundon par"
“Ek bhay hoga unke andar. Hamara terror hoga unke upar, unke gundon par"
In yet another shocking instance, a member of the Bharatiya Janta Party, has made a public statement, which not only explicitly targets an entire community, but is also violent in its nature. There can be no misunderstanding his words. We would like to take a minute to discuss the implications of this brazen act by Rampal Singh Pundhir who, as reports suggest, seems to have his eye on an assembly seat from Deoband.

To begin with, the Indian Penal Code is very clear on the issue of provocation of violence or communal disharmony by spoken or written word or other means. It is unacceptable that a member of the ruling party make public statements that flagrantly disregard the written law of the land, more so, since he is apparently contesting upcoming elections for public office. There should be ramifications. According to the law, this individual can be imprisoned or fined for this hate speech. But also, if the ‪BJP‬ wants to begin to regain its credibility as a national party that is not communal, they must, distance themselves from sinister elements like Pundhir and dismiss him from the party.

Secondly, the question begs to be asked, where is the public conscience? Are Indians communal by nature? The answer is no. India has always embraced diversity. Indians know how to live in harmony with each other. So, why are we allowing fringe elements like Pundhir to hijack our national debate. Indians must not sit in silence. We must collectively speak up. With all due respect to our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we must point out that his silence can be construed as acquiescence. It was not too long ago that India collectively said "No" to the congress party and a good leader like Dr. Man Mohan Singh because of his silence on wrong doing within the Congress Party.

What is absolutely deplorable is the fact that Rampal Singh Pundhir, is trying to incite violence and disharmony in a place like Deoband. Deoband has reputation for peace. Which is noteworthy given its proximity to Muzaffarnagar. Why then, is Mr Pundhir trying to stir up trouble in a peaceful area? His aim is not to quell violence but to spark it. This cannot and must not be ignored. He is an enemy to Indian values, the Constitution and the very idea of India itself.

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