President Pranab Mukherjee has once again on Monday expressed his apprehensions over the escalating intolerance in the country and the reluctance to accept dissent.
He urged to hold onto humanism and pluralism under any circumstance and said that the combination of positive forces would resist the ‘Asuras’ or evil divisive powers in the society. Mukherjee had earlier said that the Indian civilization survived for 5000 years because of its tolerance, diversity and plurality which kept the country united for centuries. The Prez therefore stressed the need to respect dissent and ‘provide space to different points of view’. His statements came in the wake of the much condemned Dadri lynching and the repeated events of intolerance and violence against the minorities as well as those not following the right-wing ideologies including several eminent writers and thinkers. Media has been reporting shocking events of violence almost every day from different parts of the country. A Muslim man was beaten to death in Dadri village of Uttar Pradesh recently for rumours of consuming and storing the banned cow meat at his home by a mob of hundreds who also attacked his family. The incidence drew huge uproar all across the country and abroad condemning the BJP government for its indifference towards the repeated incidents of intolerance. Following the criticisms, PM Modi had broken his silence on the issue urging the people to ignore the provocative statements by the politicians and stay united and not to fight against each other. But no sincere efforts have been made so far from the part of the government to curb such incidents.
In yet another incident, Sheikh Abdul Rashid, better known as Engineer Rashid, an independent MLA from Jammu and Kashmir, was attacked by the members of Hindu Sena on Monday by blackening his face with ink and engine oil during a press conference in Udhampur, days after he was attacked by BJP MLAs in the J&A Assembly for hosting a beef party. The Shiv Sena members had recently attacked Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of Observer and Research Foundation, for organizing a book launch of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri in Mumbai on Monday by smearing his face with black paint and threatening him not to go ahead with the event. The Shiv Sena activists had stormed into the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai with anti-Pakistan slogans cornering the BCCI president Shashank Manohar and forcing him to cancel the much anticipated talks with his Pak counterpart Shahryar Khan on a proposed bilateral India-Pak cricket series. Kashmiris had called a strike on Monday for protesting the death of man who was attacked in Udhampur on Sunday on rumours of slaughtering a cow. Several writers and thinkers who voiced their dissent against the fascist moves of the BJP government were also killed. Renowned litterateurs and artists across the nation are currently protesting against the growing wave of intolerance in India by returning their awards. The decision of the Hindu Mahasabha to commemorate November 15, the day Nathuram Godse was hanged, as ‘balidan diwas’ completes the process.
The future of a secular democratic India was seemingly bleak when the RSS came to power last year. The Hindutwa fanatics under the leadership of Modi went on the rampage across the country with their agenda of saffronisation. Incendiary statements and hate speeches along with actions hurting the sentiments of minorities, triggering communal riots and conflicts, ‘saffronising’ the textbooks in states where the ruling party was in power and hunting down and imprisoning innocents under the name of curbing terrorism have all been carried out repeatedly by the Sangh Parivar with the backing of the Modi government. The secular parties and groups who once turned a blind eye towards the tightening hold of fascism that destroys the democratic foundation of the country is at present standing helpless and worried. It would be the centuries old civilisation of the country that would be at stake if the secularist society fails to curb the uncivilized moves of the fanatics that destroy the pride and the image of the nation.