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THE CITIZEN EDITORIAL | 28 JUNE, 2017

India Speaks 'Not in My Name', Even if the Opposition Has Lost its Voice

THE CITIZEN EDITORIAL


Two persons--- a filmmaker and an activist---set the ball rolling and its become a toofan of sorts. A stunned nation greeted the brutal lynching of 15 year old Junaid in a train compartment, while his brothers just about escaped the same fate, with silence that expressed fear but more than that sheer shock.

The silence was punctuated by an almost immediate response from the CPIM) whose Brinda Karat rushed to the hospital in Delhi where one of the surviving brothers had been admitted with serious injuries, and soon after took a delegation to his family in a Haryana village near Ballabgarh. On the heels of this word spread of a facebook post, and a decision by just two persons--Saba Dewan and Rahul Roy--- to organise a vigil against this monstrous act in Jantar Mantar. It took just two brave souls to puncture the seemingly invincible wall, and the floodgates opened for the people in Delhi and other cities to take over.

Even as the Congress party that is the main opposition in Haryana hunkered down for fear of offending the majority community, young people across India joined Delhi in announcing similar protests to save India from being overtaken by the politics of sheer hate. Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune, Kolkata, Mumbai, Trivandrum, Chandigarh,and yes Patna Boston, London---- no one wanted to be left out. More and more joining even as we write

And these protests are not being organised by Muslims lest the hate mongers saving the cow, and kiling humans, try to give it their usual twist but by the young and old of India---and the world--- who care. Those who have never attended a protest in their lives are planning to join in what they see as an expression by democratic and Constitutional India against the senseless violence of those who are targeting and killing with impunity.

No one,except one man, has been arrested for the attack on the four young men returning happily to their homes after a day in Delhi’s Sadar Bazaar. Rs 1500 is all they had to spend but it was a fortune for all. The entire bogey, from all accounts, joined the initial group of four or five men who started the attack. And now no one has come out to speak. This is because of terrifying fear that speech will target them as well, and given the current environment no one will protect their homes and their jobs.

The Opposition could have provided this reassurance but the Congress party is more fearful than any other. Its silence is condemnable, and its Haryana leader visited Junaid’s residence only after the civil society protests had been announced, and it had become clear that the view wedded to democratic India was asserting itself. There has been not a word from Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son and the bevy of august leaders who are sitting in their homes, as if this lynching was just another incident. As are all the regional parties, whose leaders have not even bothered to speak out, or reach out to the affected family and the village, giving them solace and comfort and through it courage to face these trying times.

The BJP is doing what the RSS has always declared as its agenda---racing to divide the country through hate and sustained violence. But what is the Congress party doing? Perhaps what it had been doing for the last two terms it was in office---playing to the corporates, and the gallery, with scant regard for the people of India. In the process it is killing itself which might not be such a bad thing in ordinary circumstances, but in days where every straw matters, its functioning and its thought process is mindboggling.

This assertion is important, as it comes with a message that there are still swathes of Indians who might be silent but do not condone hate speech and hate violence. This will ofcourse not deter those responsible from continuing the cycle of violence but as more and more people speak up, the voices of unreason and hate will weaken. It is the silence, the opting out that is even more sinister at times than the actual perpetration of violence, and hence it needs to be countered with shrill and loud voices continuously, in a sustained and yet orderly manner.

We take note of yet another small but significant effort sent to us through this audio clip. Its a statement by a young man (and lest it is attacked for the wrong reasons who just felt he had to say what he has said:

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