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Can the government be a mute spectator?

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on May 26, 2022 with No Comments

“Such incidents are not only dangerous but also impact the very principles of democracy and shows that the ruling party and its fringe elements are involved in impacting the cultural diversity,”

The clash between two groups of students in a hostel of premium university in India over the serving of non-vegetarian food on last Sunday, the day Ram Navami was being celebrated, is indicative of the growing communalisation in India.  As per reports, members of a student body tried to stop the hostel mess committee from preparing a chicken dish for dinner, even though  students are free to choose between non-vegetarian and vegetarian food on Sundays. Violence erupted when the committee members reportedly rejected this demand. The situation was right to blow up as it came in the wake off curbs imposed on the sale of meat in parts of  Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka during  Navratras. Last week, Mayor of East Delhi Shyam Sundar Agarwal  not only ordered the closure of meat shops on the last three days of the nine-day festival but also warned of revoking licences of meat sellers if they violated his order. However, he only said so but didn’t issue a written order, thus raising serious questions about his intent. The attempt to polarize two communities in their time festivities can’t be ruled out.  At the same time, certain right wing organizations have launched a campaign against the display of halal certification on food products is a direct attack on Muslim community.

In another bid to polarise society, Hindutva groups in the state of Karnataka are now targeting the involvement of members of the Muslim community in the mango trade. Siddalinga Swami, the honorary president of the extremist right-wing outfit Sri Rama Sene, claimed that “mango markets are controlled by Muslim traders and it is high time poor Hindu mango growers and traders take over. This will also ensure Hindu mango growers prosper.”

This attempt by the Hindutva group to exclude Muslims from the fruit trade comes after a series of developments that have targeted the minority community. First, Hindutva groups challenged the right of Muslim girls to wear hijabs in school, followed by calls by prominent leaders from the ruling BJP to boycott halal meat and  ban on the use of loudspeaker in mosques to call for prayer.

The Sri Rama Sene’s efforts, however, were met with resistance by people involved in the mango trade.

However, it hit the nadir; when Mahant Bajrang Muni Udasin, priest of the Badi Sangat Ashram in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district, threatened mass sexual violence against Muslim women. “If you harass one Hindu woman, then I will openly abduct your sisters and daughters and rape them,” he said.

Such incidents are not only dangerous but also impact the very principles of democracy and shows that the ruling party and its fringe elements are involved in impacting the cultural diversity and secularity of India. Authorities that should be ensuring that the very secular fabric of India remains intact have been found indulging in supporting the self-styled custodians of moral and religious values.

What stands out is the systematic targeting of a community, while showing a total indifference to rules, laws and making a mockery of the Constitution. Can the government be a mute spectator?




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