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Communal harmony, the need of the hour

Posted by jytmkh on September 8, 2008

The killing of people and destruction of religious places in Orissa cannot be justified, whatever the provocation. If any act committed by one invites the wrath of the other sections of society, then the path of dialogue must be adopted..

CJ: Mohammad Taiyab Khan 

WE ARE aware of the communal violence that erupted in Orissa on August 24, 2008 after the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. It was presumed by a section of the people in Orissa that the Swami was murdered by Christians because he once said that Christians must convert to Hinduism in the interest of the country. Armed with this presumption, the saffron brigade, with the help of local criminals took to the streets, beating and murdering people and vandalising houses and churches. Christians were forced to take shelter in the nearby forest for their safety. Whatever the provocation, one cannot justify the killings, arson and destruction. This is surely an act of insanity.

Despite these shameful and inhuman acts on the part of the saffron brigade and its followers and the subsequent condemnation which followed the said acts in India and most parts of the world, the said criminal elements are on the look out for Christians to root them out. Some conversions may have been accomplished by luring people belonging to the socially and economically backward sections of the society but it still is not the way to treat humans. After all, Christians have not hurt anybody and so we should ensure their safety across the country. If an act committed by one invites the wrath of other sections of the society, then the path of dialogue alone must be followed to sort out the issues. It’s unbelievable that groups like Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) engage in criminal activities on the pretext of protecting the country and brand the various minority groups in general as anti-nationals. But they often engage in violent and criminal acts, which go against the laws of the land; since they violate the law of the land, they should be called anti-nationals; they are not protecting the country; they are promoting hatred in the country to achieve their political ends. Actually, they are harming the society and bringing shame on the country.
In my article ’Orissa Violence: Is it difficult to be Human’, I raised the issue of criminalisation of society, hurting the minority Christians in Orissa and attacking the people, their homes and religious places. Also, I asked whether we should all become prosperous or we should become a ’proud’ nation with soaring poverty and misery levels. Surprisingly, I received comments from different ’educated people’, reflecting their communal bent of mind and hatred of Christians. This mindset is not good for the health of the society or the country.
According to one comment, “All the killings that are happening in Orissa are not because of hatred. All Hindus are peace-loving.” Yes, we believe in this truth. We are not talking about Hindus in general, but only those sections of society which are destroying the very structure of our healthy society and democratic India. The comment further said, “Every person would cherish three things in life: motherland, mother tongue and one’s own tradition and culture. Other countrymen, languages and religions are to be respected provided the same respect is shown by them towards the locals.” Whoever commented doesn’t actually realise that Christians are not violating the law of the land; nor are they insulting the language the people of India speak. As for tradition and culture, well, the tribals in Orissa are very much attached to their traditions and culture even after conversion to Christianity.
The worst comment I received said, “Is the Pope gonna be Queen Elizabeth and Vatican City, the East India Company”? Italians did not condemn the Ahmedabad blasts … they did not condemn the Jaipur blasts … and worst of all, they did not say anything when thousands of innocent Hindus and Sikhs were butchered by General Dyer in Jallianwala Baugh.” One incident the person knowingly forgot to mention was the Gujarat killings of Muslims. This can only be attributed to short-sightedness. They are after the innocent minorities and the socially backward sections of society all over the country. The blood shed by Christian martyrs in Orissa will spread the Gospel in Orissa.
Another viewer said, “There is no doubt that the Sangh Parivar wants all minorities either to vacate India or accept Hinduism. Minorities need to come together to form a forum to safeguard themselves.” A Christians remarked, “Christians of all denominations all over India must unite and stand by their brothers and sisters in Orissa in every possible way. It is sad that atrocities against Christians are ignored by the authorities. Even smaller communities in India are stronger and more influential. It’s time that Christians set aside their differences and fought for justice and security before it’s too late.”
It is clear that the minorities in India want to be assured of safety and security by the government of India. They want exemplary punishment to be meted out to the fanatics that harm them, especially in Orissa.
VHP leader Praveen Togadia is to undertake an Orissa Yatra to condole the killing of the Swami. Fearing more violence, the Archbishop of Cuttack pleaded in the Supreme Court on Thursday (September 4) that allowing the said Yatra would amount to throwing a matchstick in the communal tinderbox. Despite the Orissa government’s affidavit in the Supreme Court that the State government will not allow any such Yatra, Togadia said the Yatra would go on. Also, responding to the alleged failure of the Orissa government to contain violence in the State and given the sensitiveness of the issue, the Supreme Court has decided to keep an eye on the issue. It has asked the State government to file a detailed affidavit by September 11, 2008 to the effect that “steps would be taken to prevent any untoward incident from taking place.”
Togadia also said, “We will condole the death of Swami Laxmanananda with a Yatra across the State. We will march through every village and town of Orissa despite the pressure tactics of the Christians to ensure safety for Swami’s murderers.

     Other Articles by  Mohammad Taiyab Khan


” Togadia is actually not going on a Yatra to condole the killings of the Swami but to gain political mileage and incite more violence against the Christians. He is trying to add oil to the communal fire. His mission is clear – spread hatred and destroy the minority Christians in Orissa. Togadia has such shameful acts to his credit. All he and the saffron brigade want is the ’blood of the minority’. He has never been involved in humanitarian activities. The need of the hour is to contain the internal terrorism perpetrated by these extremists, whose hands are soaked with the blood of innocent people; otherwise it is feared that India will go back to the 18th century, in terms of its economy and geographical border. (merinews)

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