Focus

Selective rage...

It is nice to see the Indian civil society stand up at last and force the lethargic and self-obsessed government to act. But this rage should have been seen long ago -- when over 3000 hapless Muslims were hacked to death in a single night in Nellie, when government’s own PAC picked up Muslim youths from Meerut’s Hashimpura and Maliana and shot them in cold blood, when a state government organised pogroms and men, women and children were burnt to death alive, when thousands of Sikhs were torched to death on the streets of Delhi and other north Indian cities, when Christians were butchered in their hundreds in Kandhamal, when Dalits and Adivasis were/are routinely raped and murdered, when a disabled man near Delhi is tied to a vehicle and dragged for a kilometre, when a hapless young woman is raped in full glare and TV cameramen film the scene, when all the women of the Kashmiri village of Kunan-Poshpura are raped in a night-long foray by our brave soldiers, when north-eastern women are routinely subjected to rape and indignity in other states, when young men and women are routinely murdered by village thugs masquerading as “khap panchayats” for simply disobeying illogical and illegal traditions, when innocent women are raped routinely in police stations, when armymen freely and brazenly go about violating the chastity of women in Kashmir and Manipur... The list is long. The point is that our reaction should not be selective. Every Indian citizen enjoys the same rights under the constitution. Every Indian citizen must be respected by the forces created to serve him/her. We have all the sympathy for the hapless young woman ravaged by beasts on Delhi streets in the night of 16 December. Would civil society react the same way had the victim been a Muslim or Dalit or tribal? Unless we rise to this level, we cannot claim to be civilised.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 January 2013 on page no. 1

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