Sham of human chain in Pakistan to show solidarity with Hindus

Social media is abuzz with the report of a human chain formed by Pakistan’s National Student’s Federation (NSF) on 6th March (Holi festival) for Hindus who are celebrating Holi at Swami Narayan Temple in Karachi to protect, and show solidarity with them. But what is most amusing is that more than the Pakistani citizens, it is the Indians who seem to have gotten on a new high after reading this news.

Cosmetic gestures, rarely bear tangible fruits.

Cosmetic gestures, rarely bear tangible fruits.

The Indian media is busy with the story of this greatness that has been shown by the majority towards the minuscule minority. Famous Hindi actor Akshay Kumar put this news but what people do not know is that on the eve of Holi, extremists in Pakistan tried to burn down a Hindu temple at Tando Muhammad Khan.

Hindi film actor Akshay Kumar expresses happiness at the news.

Hindi film actor Akshay Kumar expresses happiness at the news.

The extremists entered the Shiv Bhola Hanuman temple at Soomar Street and desecrated Hindu scriptures and pictures of Hindu deities.

Hindu temple desecrated on the eve of Holi

Hindu temple desecrated on the eve of Holi

Surprising? Here is more; just last year (year 2014) at the time of Holi, 3 Hindus were charged under draconian blasphemy law of Pakistan at Nao Dambalo, all because they were playing with colors. In this year and this month, just a few days back, Pakistani police arrested boys at Sindh University, and the reason given out was that a Hindu festival like Holi cannot be celebrated openly. Forget the festivals and temples for a minute as they may not interest everyone; let us talk about basic human rights which all minorities must enjoy. At present the situation of a Hindu woman in Pakistan is extremely shabby. Such is the situation that the Baghree Hindu community is asking Indian government to allow them refuge in India. Close to 400-500 families wish to come to India as soon as is possible. Why? Because Hindu girls, of any age, are being abducted openly and no one does anything. One of the daughter of the Baghree community, a married woman named Chandervati along with her 2-year old daughter, was abducted by armed gunmen and forced-converted at Amrot Shareef, married to a criminal, and later shoved into prostitution. But Pakistani establishment, instead of helping the victim arrested her father, her mother, and six other family members of the victim’s family because the ‘abductor-cum-husband’ claims that her family kidnapped her to take her away from him.

Chandervati, forced- conversion victim, from Hindu Baghree community. Baghree community wants refuge in India.

Chandervati, forced- conversion victim, from Hindu Baghree community. Baghree community wants refuge in India.

Most girls like her are trafficked out or just become sex slave to be passed on from one man to another. Prima facie most of these girls are under 18, surprising indeed because marriage of young female kids should be punished as pedophilia but at this everyone in Pakistan who can make a difference is quiet. Names of few of the forced conversion victims are Rinkle Kumari, Jeevani Baghri,  Anjali Meghwar and thousands of others. So grave is the situation that a report by Movement for Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan says that up to 1000 women are shoved into forced marriages every year in Pakistan; 700 of these women are Christian and 300 are Hindu. There is no other reason to target these women except that they happen to be from oppressed minorities alone.

If that comes as a surprise to you, then also read how a Jew activist, Fishel Benkhald was beaten up by a Muslim mob when he questioned the apartheid-like situation that exists for minorities in Pakistan.

Fishel Benkhald after being attacked

Fishel Benkhald after attack

When such is the state of Hindus of Pakistan then how can anyone think that this gesture is anything but fake? The declining and fleeing Hindu population of Pakistan rarely ever becomes any news for anyone, but a cosmetic and a shallow gesture is so widely preached around that it washes away carefully labored efforts of Hindus and other minorities of Pakistan to sensitize the world about their sad state. Survival of minorities in Pakistan is the only way to stop radicalization in South Asia and if anyone has been following news about Yezidis, then it is pretty well-known as to why they are being targeted. They have been branded as ‘Devil Worshipers’ because they worship stone idols.

Stone worshipers=Devil worshiper=Fit to convert, rape and kill

Stone worshipers=Devil worshiper=Fit to convert, rape and kill

If Pakistanis tolerate deity worshiping Hindus, then it is likely that it will remain an egalitarian state and radicalization will wither out if not then a Taliban takeover is imminent. But to stop such a situation the Pakistani society will have to rise above cosmetic gestures because these actions help neither the terrified Hindu community nor their country. Also for Indians, just like everyone is praising this gesture, please do pay attention to minorities of Pakistan as well because their cries are going unheard and their survival is important if the idea of India has to survive.

Yezidis last hope remain Hindus and India

As Islamic State warriors are closing on to Sinjar Mountains, the Yezidi fighters, most who took up whatever arms were available even kitchen knives, are finding it hard to believe that world is still not worried about the fate of thousands of innocent men, women and children whose sole mistake is that they worship Taus Melek or Peacock Angel whom Hindus know as the Commander of all Gods Murugan/Karthikeya/Sanath Kumar. While discussing with them the situation they are in, they show fear that either they will be killed or be converted; the latter of these two fears is what they consider as bad as death itself.

Taus Melek and Murugan are one?

Taus Melek and Murugan are one?

But the most potent question that many Indians are asking is why are Yezidis trying to forge bond with Indians and particularly with Hindus? What is their motivation? Is there something sinister behind this outreach? Some even argue as to why must Hindus get involved with a group that does not even identify itself as a ‘Hindu’ and has traces of what several feel, concepts, that do not exactly blend with Hinduism.

Murugan, the commander of all gods, is whom Yezidis claim to worship.

Murugan, the commander of all gods, is whom Yezidis claim to worship.

Keeping these questions in mind I asked a Yezidi man, as to why do the Yezidis feel that Indians, and particularly Hindus, would like to help them? His answer was straight; he said that it was because ‘there is no one else who would like to help us without converting us and we are aware that only and only Hindus are like that.’ This 44-year old man, who goes by the name of Hatim is a guide by profession and based in Dohuk, is absolutely sure that the ‘Hindus will help and India will help.’

But the question is why must India help Yezidis who have no known connection with India for thousands of years? To this he did not have an answer except that ‘will you not try to help your cousins if they are in danger and left India for Iceland? I know you people help (everyone)… (those too) who have no bond but we know you and we like you. Won’t you help?’

Killed for being 'Devil worshipers.'

Killed for being ‘Devil worshipers.’

Many may not find this argument or should we say a helpless and defeated plea convincing, certainly when we shun emotions and measure each thing in terms of value addition, then this helpless community of a few millions (some claim them to be as less as 5, 00, 000) staring at the biggest genocide of the 21st century that promises to wipe it out completely, is not worthy of investing in. Assuming this to be the way forward, now let us consider why India or Hindus ‘should not’ help the Yezidis. The only reason of not helping the Yezidis is as that they hold no value, and in any case there is always the defensive argument like when there is a fire in our very own house then why go to Iraq (youngsters waving Islamic State flags is a reality in India). Plus there is one more like has India done anything for Pakistani and Bangladeshi Hindus and Sikhs, who share immediate ties with us? Then why bother?

Plea for help

Plea for help

The Chief Editor, International Strategist and Founder of http://www.AmritWorld.com Mr. Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’ explains this aspect in a conversation by saying that ‘India went to Sri Lanka to fight LTTE. Indian Army was sent to Maldives in 1988; in the case of Yezidis none of this has happened nor may this happen. But we are still in a position to help; all that are needed are manpower and money.” Explaining further he also gave another example of Fiji, where Mahinder Chaudhary, a Hindu Prime Minister was thrown out by the army. He said “everyone spoke against his removal, he was a staunch Hindu, but India did nothing, on the other hand New Zealand went ahead and sent a warship and Fijian Army hastily retreated. Mr. Chaudhary traces his roots to Haryana but did India bother? For no less than 56 days did the Fijian Army keep him captured.”

For Yezidis, he said that they are a very tiny minority in Iraq and now, since Kurdistan will soon be an independent nation hence they (Yezidis) will again be a minority there, but not as small as they are in Iraq. They will be just a religious minority and not an ethnic one so considering this scenario if India or Hindus help Yezidis it would be helping the soon-to-be independent state of Kurdistan. And therefore any help will only strengthen the bond between this new state with India, and the benefit? Well! This would be an oil producing friendly country in the heart of Middle East.

Brothers? Are we?

Brothers? Are we?

But keeping the money dynamics aside, even if India, or Hindus as Yezidis want, come to their aid then it only makes sense as they are a very small minority, plus the adoration and loyalty with which they look up to India with is something that several crore illegal Bangladeshis will never be able to do. So the choice for India is simple, and surprisingly, without any dilemmas. Just manpower and money is needed to help this minute minority, no need to send armed forces. Protecting Yezidis today makes sense as it will benefit Indians tomorrow.

How Yezidis and Hindus are forming a bond slowly but surely
Hindus and Yezidis must be credited to be looking at each other with curiosity and that too with extreme positivism. Small efforts have already been undertaken by both the communities, like Yezidi students in Bangalore going to celebrate Diwali with Hindus after visiting Murugan temple, Yezidi kids especially asking Hindus to help them, Qasem Sesho appealing to Hindus and Yezidi groups meeting Hindu leaders etc.

Small steps to a great start?

Small steps to a great start?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has already gone a step further and has promised to aid Yezidis displaced by current turmoil. So, we can presume that so far everything is positive from both the sides, but yes, only time will tell how Hindus and Yezidis take this relationship forward and whether both are ready to cement the bond further.

Hindus and Yezidi students celebrating Diwali in Bangalore

Hindus and Yezidi students celebrating Diwali in Bangalore

Is love jihad for real?

Cases after cases have sprung up with Hindu women claiming that they married ‘Hindu’ men who later ‘turned’ out to be Muslims and forced and tortured them to embrace Islam. Tara Sahdev’s case of forced conversion and brutality by her ‘husband’ and several other such cases that have come to light from across the country point to a dangerous trend, which is, the growing radicalization and polarization of the Muslim youth. It is indeed wonderful that a powerful voice of Maulana Kalbe Sadiq has emerged which openly chided the jihadists but besides this lone man no other sane and strong voice from the community is coming out to challenge the development.

Tara Sahdev showing bruises that she got from her alleged husband

Tara Sahdev showing bruises that she got from her alleged husband

Some apologists may pretend that this said ‘radicalization,’ is some kind of smear campaign against the community, but keeping in mind that some of these youngsters also happen to proudly adorn T-Shirts with ISIS boldly imprinted on it, and brandish the black flags and meet with no resistance, then it clearly shows that something somewhere is going extremely wrong. The women like Teesta Setalwad who claim that this is nothing but an exercise of free will by the women coming out challenging the patriarchy by choosing their partners, cunningly overlooks one small detail and that is that several of such women claim to have married a ‘Hindu’ man and only later did they come to know that the man in question is a devout Muslim. So where is the free will? When did this free will end up being equal to duped and tortured? If this is the definition that the likes of Teesta and other champions of ‘women rights’ want to move forward with, then it is better that we also legalize sati, bestiality and child marriages as well; after all, free will must work in all criminal cases and not just in the case of select few.

 

UK simmers on grooming scandal

UK simmers on grooming scandal

A simple thing that we need to understand is that these cases are a dangerous trend that easily can be understood in the context of the sexual grooming and the assault cases that have plagued the western society of which the most recent case is the Rotherham case, where Pakistani Muslim men kept abusing White girls for close to 14 years and despite knowing the truth the authorities did nothing as they feared that they will be branded ‘racist.’ If we see this case closely then this is something that is the state of all the societies today, be it the eastern or the western one. While a shrieking media continuously and viciously tries to stifle the voice of protest and justice, the general mood of the public is of a seething mutiny against what it perceives is a slap on its face, which is bad for us in the long run. Therefore, any effort like Teesta’s should be taken in this context; it is done to cover up the tracks in the guise of women rights and liberty and not there to ensure justice and this is what we must fear because cases like these hamper our secular fabric and make people edgy. Also, it would be even better that the Home Minister does not try to wriggle out of the question of ‘love jihad,’ and instead puts strength in the wheels of justice. Why should an entire community be allowed to be viewed in suspicion because of extremist interpretation of religion and why must innocent girls suffer physically and emotionally when they clearly are the victims?

It is also important that no amount of cajoling or tagging (like being branded communal or racist) must be allowed to come in the way of dealing with the criminals with strength and this is absolutely necessary and anyone who sides with the criminals must be held accountable too. The best would be that the community leaders come forward and openly issue directions or throw such people out of the religion/clan/community and call for economic and social boycott but as we see today, it did not happen in the UK, and highly likely that it is no close to happening in India as well, and in both cases the target was the innocent girls who underwent extreme brutality.

The big question is why are we scared to tackle this criminal behavior? What are our leaders and police personnel scared of? Is there a powerful lobby that they fear will put them at risk? If yes, then it is government’s duty to investigate and cut such shadow outfits to size as soon as possible and save our country from any untoward incident. Surely, this is the least we can expect from the leading man who once claimed to have a 56 inch chest.

P.S.: It speaks volumes about Indians and also the English that no one took law into their hands even as these explosive cases tumbled out of a very dirty closet. Something like this even remotely similar, or even a rumor like this can bring genocide in neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh. So let us ensure justice and avoid becoming a banana republic.

Feature report: What an Indian woman goes through during menstruation

The copyright of the image rests with Namta Gupta. Free to use after crediting.

The copyright of the image rests with Namta Gupta. Free to use after crediting.

Millions of women in India dread the time when they go for their menstruation cycle. The shining economy and rocketing clout of India is just one side of the story. The AC Neilsen report undertaken with the help of Plan India on ‘Sanitary Protection: Every Woman’s Health Right’ in 2010 painted a rather grim picture of menstrual hygiene of Indian women. The report claims that only 12% out of the 355 million women have access to sanitary napkins. As per this study, 98% gynecologists’ use sanitary napkins, but their patients have their own good reasons to avoid them. Gynecologist Dr. Abha Sharma feels that awareness has increased but still there are patients that use cloth and face vaginal and urinary tract infections. At times it is good economics that play on the woman’s mind. As Meera Das, 35, a mother of two, feels that with some spare money in her hands, she may also opt for the napkin but in her house only one has that luxury. Her 14 year old daughter uses a napkin, but that too only when she ventures outside. In her native village also, women choose old rags.

A. Muruganandam, apparently the first man to wear a sanitary napkin, who started what he calls a ‘white revolution’ by making and distributing cheaper sanitary napkin, has an equally sordid tale. Muruganandam, who later founded Jayaashree Industries to help the cause of menstruating women, talks about the day when he saw the cloth his educated wife was using during menstruation and noticed that the cloth was so dirty that he could not even wipe his scooter with it! When he told her to use a sanitary napkin instead, his wife snapped at him saying that if all the women in the house started using sanitary napkins then the family will have to cut down on the milk budget!

Not much different is the study put forward by the Pardada Pardadi NGO in Anoopshehar, Uttar Pradesh. Renuka, the spokesperson of this NGO elaborates that many girls have to drop out of their schools when they enter puberty. The AC Neilsen report puts the dropout numbers at a staggering 23 percent. The research undertaken by the Pardada Pardadi showed that the inability of pubescent girls in handling their periods due to non-availability of material or knowledge lead to their desertion of schools. ‘And expensive sanitary napkins are not an option for many women in India and other parts of the developing world,’ Renuka quips. People at many places do not even understand what a sanitary napkin is or what it does. ‘The awareness is so low, that when I went out and asked for a sanitary napkin from a chemist, he wrapped it in a brown paper. The chemist and others sniggered; they thought it was something unwanted like a condom!’ recounts Muruganandam. Accessibility and reach-ability is also a roadblock. A woman that has to travel miles to fetch one pitcher of water has little time to go and buy a sanitary napkin and add another mile to her arduous regimen. Like the case of Harpyaari Devi, 70, a matriarch with 2 daughter-in-laws and 3 pubescent granddaughters, says that in her village no one would buy these packets as there is not a single shop selling them. Her daughter in laws, have found a better way of handling the issue; they do not venture out when they are in their periods and use cotton or rags. They even lose out on daily wages as a result, but what can be done?

But is it only rural India that is plagued by this menstrual apathy? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Even in some Urban and semi- urban areas the situation is similar. Amitabh Kumar, head of the media division of Centre for Social Research says that in the educational and medical camps that they organize, they often have to educate women about the usage of sanitary napkins and at times have to dissuade myths that pull women away from napkins. He says, that in most cases women argue, that cotton is better than the fabric and using fabric can cause diseases. Some even claim that sanitary napkins are made of recycled plastics. So how can they be any good? He feels that India is as good as sub-Saharan Africa in context of menstrual hygiene. Not a rosy picture indeed.

Issues that worsen the situation

There are various mores and practices that wreck an Indian woman’s life. Like, the patriarchal nature of Indian society and skewed sex ratio makes menstruation a taboo topic.  It is rarely discussed as the society takes the coming of period as the time of sexual awakening in a woman and wishes to put a lid on it.  The end result is that women try to curb topics related to menstruation; hence, health and hygiene are both lost. In fact, as Muruganandam puts it that ‘90% of Indian men are unaware that women undergo menstruation! Even educated men and government officials are unaware what a sanitary napkin is.’ The issue, taboo, just like drugs, is shunned. ‘Even the wives and sisters feel ashamed to talk about it with husbands or brothers’. He says, in many tribal north-east states, women use leaves, sand and even ash to absorb menstrual blood.

The absence of sexual knowledge is also a big dampener. Amitabh of CSR says, ‘sexual awareness and education is very limited and no doctor or teacher is there to help girls with basic information.’ Even Neeraj Goyal, General Marketing Manager of Johnson & Johnson India Ltd finds taboos and societal attitude as one of the biggest challenge that is faced by Indian women. As per him, ‘it is more to do with the stigma associated with it and contributes to gender inequality. So when girls enter puberty they stay at home or drop out of school completely.’

Then there is the problem of affordability. In a big country like India, with the female population of many millions living in abject poverty, the cost plays a major factor. As Muruganandam tells of a peculiar issue he has observed; he says that women try to save money by using unhygienic means but in actuality they end up paying about Rs200-500($3-$10) to a doctor at regular intervals. Desperate women even resort to removal of uterus at an early age to stop cost escalation.

But then, is a cheaper sanitary napkin a game-changer? ‘May be for the poorest and marginal folks’, says Neeraj Kumar, ‘but then why is it that in urban India where the cost is not a big issue the usage is just 57%?’ In a country where fairness cream sells more than a hygienic product like sanitary napkins, maybe there is something more than what meets the eye. And then ‘How cheap is REALLY cheap?’ He may have a point here, but Muruganandam   blames this on the perception that advertising of sanitary napkin conveys and the monopolistic hold of big corporate on this sector. In the advertisement of this product, he elaborates, comfort is highlighted not hygiene.

The basic sanitary infrastructure is also lacking in India. Such lopsided is the scenario that there are more mobile phones than toilets. And then there is another angle, like if a fairness cream reaches more household then, maybe it is more widely available than a sanitary napkin?

The way forward

The situation has improved, though not up to a desirable level. Governments, NGOs and corporations are pulling loose strings. The public-private partnership between government and corporations has changed the lives of millions of girls. Like Johnson & Johnson’s Stayfree Woman for Change initiative has already touched approximately 2.6 million girls and women. Along with UNICEF it has started a program to reach out to 5 lakh girls in the period of next three years in remote parts of Bihar and Jharkhand. Government of India has also woken up to the seriousness of the issue after all a booming economy like India cannot afford to keep half of its workforce at home. The government has started multiple projects like Kishori Shakti Yojna (10-18 years) and several others. Rs150 crore have already been earmarked for the KSY scheme to provide cheaper sanitary napkins to pubescent girls.  It is an extension of an already existing Adolescent Girl scheme that aims to provide napkins at a subsidized rate. But subsidy is not the only way out. There are novel measures too, like Muruganandam’s decentralized mode of making and delivery. He says ‘eliminating men’ from the chain and having more woman to woman contact would take the sanitary napkin to even remotest parts of India. His unique model makes it easier to make a sanitary napkin at home and women can barter it for eatables and other goods as it is cheaper than most other napkins.

Targeting girls at school would be even better as at school they would be even easier to convince. And as Neeraj Kumar puts it, once you convert one woman, it is easier to convert others close to her. Imparting education to women about hygiene and changing mindsets of people are also equally important. Gender equality and better school curriculum must be taken up with determination. Better sanitation facilities, better infrastructure and sexual education at school level could change fate of millions of Indian women and girls. But then, is India ready to tackle this challenge?

Indian Men are on the right track

Hanging

The above heading is not wrong at all, although it is highly likely that some people may take it adversely but it is important to discuss the role of Indian men in the lives of Indian women.

As we discuss continuing circle of sexual violence, acid attacks and other problems, we squarely blame Indian men for all the miseries of women. Feminists pop-out from every corner and start ridiculing the Indian men, calling them everything from ‘Closet Rapists’ to ‘Potential rapists,’ as and when they wish to insult them. But as we look around, we can see that it is the Indian men who have emerged as the strongest voice against violence on women; this is unprecedented in the human history! Yes, some of the men could be sexist, but isn’t that the case with women too? If we see, we will find that the most vociferous protests against violence against women has come from Indian men, be it in the December 16, 2012 rape case (Nirbhaya/Damini gangrape case) or be it in the current UP, Badaun gangrape and murder case.

delhi_rape_protest_statistics

And every one of these men, who actually constitute the majority, and are protesting with rage and anguish, is not even one bit pleased with the way Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Singh Yadav, have tried to bring them on their side by ridiculing the pain of rape victims. Mulayam had just about a month back stated, on the record, that ‘boys can make mistakes.’ This was apparently to show that rape is just a little funny mistake that can be forgiven with just a slap on the wrists, but it is his sheer bad-luck that Indian men of 21st century do not subscribe to this view anymore. For example, if we see on every forum, online or offline, it is the same ‘boys,’ whom he apparently tried to appease for their votes, who are gunning for his and his son’s head. It may have been an impossible thing to witness a few years back (may be due to lack of communication channels), but now it is the men who are at the forefront of leading the fight for women rights.

In all such cases, one can see them unilaterally demanding death for the accused or castration (without even the aid of anesthetics!) refusing to think even once that the accused share their gender. In fact, they are ashamed and aghast that at least one of them is the reason for a woman’s misery. Such change in attitude can only be attributed to two things, and that is education and gender sensitization that is quickly on the rise. The uproar that each rape case creates has finally put politicians in the dock and for the first time ever, women safety has become a bigger talking point than even terrorism and corruption. Today, men join women in rallies and sometimes even lead them in protests as was evident in the Delhi rape case and in the current Badaun rape and murder case.

men protesting

This, indeed, is a heartening sign for India that men are becoming more and more sensitive to women rights and have started to take them extremely seriously. All we now need is political will, rehabilitation of victims and faster trials and India will soon be the most habitable place for women. But yes, there is another issue that remains and that is, that there are certain people in power, from both genders, who wish to create an environment that puts blame on the victim or tries to trivialize her sufferings. So far, the majority has rejected them with ubiquitous and crushing force, yet India needs to constantly guard its people from such misogynist and pervert people.

For starters, voting the right way could help correct this problem but what we all also need to understand is that men are not the problem nor are they part of the problem, but they definitely are, the part of the solution when it comes to gender parity.  Joining hands with them makes a lot sense because they are the strength, along with the women, on which India can build a ‘Rape free India.’

Assam killings: The color of the blood is ‘always’ red

The recent killings by National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) have ignited a wave of fury in Indian Muslims, partly because of the silence with which the state government has reacted. It is being given the color of religion with people even blaming RSS and Modi for igniting this massacre; they are not wrong either considering that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was one of the first to draw such a parallel. But this is entirely wrong as RSS has zero presence there and Modi is not entirely acceptable due to Christian and tribal fabric that envelops North East.

There is another point of view that says that the killings were bound to happen as Bodos were outraged over illegal immigrants who are coming from a porous border that India shares with Bangladesh. In short, while one side sees it as a religious issue, the other side is hell-bent on justifying any case of human rights violation on the pretext that the people were ‘outsiders.’ But neither is correct, because first, Bodos basic demand is an exclusive Bodoland, a land where they will not be deprived of their rightful share. At this point of time when resources are scarce and development very low, the Bodo people are filled with anxiety and even insecurity, and to add to it, is the apathy with which successive governments have dealt with their demands. No wonders terrorist organizations like NDFB are drawing more people to their fold while the peaceful ones get marginalized by government. In short, the government itself must share the blame for not being aggressive enough to tackle the growing radicalization of this peaceful tribal community which only seeks basic assurance in the development deprived Assam.

Another issue is the silent gloating over the dead and efforts to brand them as outsiders. First, there is no proof that they are outsiders or ‘encroachers,’ it is being widely reported that the reason for the killings was the desire of the deceased to vote as per their choice. What is wrong with this? Is this not what Indian democracy is about, that one be allowed to vote freely and fairly? Why did the government not take action to ensure safety of people? It is highly lame to believe that there were no intelligence reports that could have been used to stop such killings, but even if that is the case, then didn’t government know that there has been a history of violence in this land and that the safety of Indians was its primary duty?

Even if we assume that they indeed were outsiders, then too who in the right mind would justify killings? Would Indians like it if their brethren who go to Western countries illegally are given the same treatment? It is understandable that there is migration going on from Bangladesh but to check that, fencing of porous borders could be undertaken and people can be deported humanely. In any case, the illegal migration is happening due to economic reasons as Bangladesh is a poor country, but killing unarmed and helpless people is sheer terrorism which is unjustifiable at all costs.

There is another issue that must be extremely alarming for all of us and that is Indian’s lack of protest in matters that actually must rattle this country. The silence and the indifference of the living, is far more dangerous because it sooner or later would initiate a vicious circle of violence that the government would surely regret. The best way is peace talks and ensuring justice, any injustice done to any community will alienate them from Indian mainstream and this is the last thing that any Indian should ever tolerate.

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