My last post was related with increasing incidents of Hooliganism in India where people or groups are targeted just because of something they wrote or something they believe. I have expressed my concern about low tolerance level in India so many times during discussions on my blog and elsewhere and was always worried about violent consequences of this. Any society or country who wants to make itself a developed nation and attract world class talent towards it needs to have total freedom of expression. Such society needs to have atmosphere where different opinions are encouraged, disagreements are welcomed and discussed. Only in such conditions real progress happens and real talent flourishes. Brutal murders of Dr. Narendra Dabholkar and Mr. Mohsin Shaikh don't indicate that India is moving in that direction, rather these two incidents that too happening in one of the most progressive cities of India (Pune) indicate that country is moving in reverse direction. There is a atmosphere in country where people are scared to speak their opinions because they feel that they will be targeted just for expressing it. This is such a sad state for a country who claims to be tolerant, inclusive and open to all cultures and beliefs, this claim now really sounds questionable.
Actually what was Mohsin's fault that he deserved to get killed like this? He followed Islam was his fault? He dressed or looked different than many others in that neighborhood was his fault? Are these things enough to kill a person? What was Dr. Dabholkar's fault? He was not a Muslim or dressed anything differently, why did they kill him? Both incidents are somewhat related as both these people were targeted because someone expressed something. In Dr. Dabholkar's case he himself was targeted for opposing ridiculous religious superstitions. These are some inhuman superstitions which some people want to protect in name of tradition and culture, he was killed for fighting against such inhuman practices. In case of Mohsin he was targeted without even any mistake from his side. Someone distributed some objectionable content on Facebook and Whatsapp related with Shivaji Maharaj. This created lot of controversy and communal tension, it seems these so called defenders of Shivaji's name think that such a grand and towering personality can be insulted or maligned by some trivial Facebook pictures. Even if we assume that Mohsin was in any way related with generating those images which created so much controversy, is this the way to deal with such issues? Can any one with rational mind even remotely justify such type of behavior? Taking law into own hands to disrupt society, destroying public property in name of protest or attacking certain groups can not be justified under any circumstances. These acts only deserve condemnation in strongest possible words and very strict action should be taken against all culprits involved in any such incidents. But all this starts sounding meaningless when Member of parliaments like Mr. Anil Shirole justify some of these acts by calling them 'natural reaction' of people whose feelings were hurt because of these images. Same excuse was offered by Mr. Modi after Godhra violence and we all know how many people lost their lives because of that so called 'natural reaction' which was nothing but cold blooded murders, a genocide. None of these reactions are 'natural' they are purposeful, planned murders and daylight robbery of public property, nothing else.
It is not important how many people died or who died to judge seriousness of such type of crimes, numbers and names also don't matter, if this mentality prevails in any society then these things will happen regularly only names of people and places will change. If more and more people go unpunished for these type of crimes, if they find any sympathizers among our politicians then they will get more aggressive and brutal in their attacks. That is why any statement which even remotely tries to justify such brutal attack on innocent people or destruction of public property should be questioned and condemned heavily from all sections of society. There should not be any compromise on freedom of expression and any violent anti-social activity should not be encouraged. Politicians have greater responsibility in all this as any sympathetic statement from their side acts as a encouragement for these goons. We cannot afford to have another Godhra in India, enough is enough now, already many people have lost their lives because of this religious fanaticism. We need to fight these anti-social goons no matter which party or organization they belong, absolutely nothing can justify such violence and destruction.
Death of Mohsin is really shocking and disgusting for anyone belonging to city like Pune. I belong to that city and we Punekars (people living in that city) take pride in calling our city one of the most progressive city in India. I am also surprised that there was no any candle march or any huge protest against Mr. Mohsin's murder like it was in case of Nirbhaya who was gang raped and killed in Delhi. Mr. Mohsin's death is not any less shocking to me than Nirbhaya's death, both crimes are equally brutal and heinous according to me, so I wonder why people's reaction is so different to both. Mohsin please forgive my beloved hometown for its inability to protect you. Punekar like me is deeply shocked as well as ashamed because of this incident, I have no words to express my feelings. I never imagined that within so short time after Dr. Dabholkar's death we will witness another such heinous crime in Pune. I hope that now our politicians and administration take lesson from it and take all measures to avoid any such instances in future. I know this is too much to ask for but I just hope that at least people step up themselves and try to stop any such things happening in future. If this doesn't happen then I don't know how many more Mohsins or Nirbhayas will have to die like this before our society wakes up and takes any action. Culture of hooliganism must go, there is no option to continue with it.
Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.
[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]Links:
1. In Pune, ‘Hindu zealots’ kill man over ‘offensive’ Facebook post
2. Pune techie murder: BJP MP says some repercussions to derogatory FB post 'natural'