Let the voice of conscience sound aloudtext_fields
It has been more than two weeks since the bell of hatred rang in Haridwar, with speeches and their aftermath from calls for genocide to slander about Gandhiji. Christmas celebrations were disrupted and the image of Christ was destroyed. Not only in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, but also in Karnataka in the south, the country has been hearing about tidal waves of social venom in recent days. Public exhortations to kill minorities and convert them to Hinduism openly challenged the rule of law, the Constitution, humanity and religious values. But what we heard in the days that followed was deafening silence; and a dreadful inertia. This is not to say that there has been no legal process or opposition. Patriots have already shared the concern, recognising the seriousness of the impact on the country's fundamental principles. An example is the open letter to the President and the Prime Minister by many, including former military chiefs, soldiers, civilians and intellectuals. They expressed their deep concern over the Haridwar hate meetings and the aftermath from various quarters. They urged the government and the judiciary to take immediate action to curb this dangerous trend at the highest levels. A few individuals in India and abroad have reacted with shock. The Jamiatul Ulema has filed a petition in the Supreme Court which pleads to seek a report from the Central Government on the steps taken by various government agencies against hate speech and resolve grievances related to hate speech and sought that hate crimes be investigated and prosecuted under the supervision of the court.
While any move that seeks to preserve the wounded soil of the nation is welcome, it must be noted that there is something more serious than simple hate speeches, something much more frightening and criminal: the silence of political leadership on the issue and the inaction of authorities. The police only registered a case on the fourth day after the Haridwar incident. Arrests were announced afterwards as well, yet not all the culprits have been arrested. Calls for genocide and mass killings -coming from racists to channel presenters and MPs - have been heard all over the world on social media, but those who are supposed to ensure the rule of law have not listened. Legal action was initiated only when there is criticism from the public and on the hint that the courts may intervene. Issues of public abuse of Muslims, Christians and women are still pending. Despite such a serious issue, the Prime Minister has not said a word. Abuse of Muslims, Christians and women is yet to be subjection of action of authorities. Despite the emergence of such a serious issue, the Prime Minister has not said a word. Opposition parties and leaders — except for isolated individuals — have not responded. In spite of the seriousness of requests to have the court register a case suo moto, there has been no move from the judiciary that could inspire confidence in the country. How can this inaction and silence be justified when the Constitution and the rule of law are openly threatened?
The poison being spread in the name of religion, the majority community has a special responsibility in this regard. Among them, there are many who disagree with the killings using religion, even those who are loyal to the ruling party. When a minority spreads hatred in the pursuit of power, there are many who are obliged to say 'not in my name'. It is time for cultural leaders, civic figures and leading figures in art and literature - who react loudly to even the smallest of incidents - to open their mouths against calls for killing, if they are loyal to the country. It is time for chiefs at different levels of power to take the stage to forge alliances at the state, district and panchayat levels and to reject hate propaganda. Let the world hear the shouting by the majority that this massacre is not India's, this is not India. It is time to raise our voices aloud as much as we can. If we wait any longer, it will be too late. Let every one hear Martin Luther King's warning against the tragedy of public participation in genocide through their silence even as the poison of hatred spreads: "In the end we all remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."Also Read:76 lawyers write to Supreme Court urging action on hate speeches, calls for ethnic cleansing