Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Lesser Devils

Government of India has stepped up its rhetoric on two fronts, towards West and East directions.

Delhi has been demanding to Islamabad that it take action on Hafiz Saeed, supposedly the mastermind of 26/11 terrorist attack in Bombay. "We have given the dossier containing all evidence against Hafiz Saeed and Pakistan is yet to take any action" shouts the minister over the microphones. "Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday criticized Pakistan for allowing Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed to make provocative anti-India statements despite New Delhi having given clear information of his role in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks." becomes the headline of Indian dailies.

Going East, the office bearers and the media alike have been barking at the highest pitch of their voice, claiming that Australian government has done very little or nothing to protect the people of Indian origin from racial attacks. I do not know how racist the attacks are in reality, but certainly the Indian government seems to be quite concerned about the well being of Indian nationals and people of Indian origin.

In the purview of the events and rhetoric by India that followed, it would be worth to dig the Indian government's emotions and actions a little bit. One would not be surprised to find that all that glitters is thin foil of aluminum and beneath lies the darkness of dead and decayed emotions, infested by inaction and reluctance.

Government of India does not feel ashamed to ask other nations to take action even though it has hardly done anything to bestow justice to the people of its own land who have been gunned down and buried in the same soil. Hardly anybody has been grilled for anti-Sikh riot of 1984 even after 26 long years. On the roads of democratic India, 2733 throats were slit in 1984 and so far, only 13 have been found guilty!

Most recently (Feb 2010), one of the accused, Sajjan Kumar, associated with ruling Congress Party of India, was issued a non-bailable warrant in connection with 1984 riots. He escaped miraculously from being arrested (is that possible without favors?) and the immediate next day, was granted bail by High Court. All of this seemed to be part of a movie, planned in advance.

Many accused, of great political stature, still continue to enjoy the breath of freedom in an air-conditioned ministerial office, holding posts of national importance. Yet many others high rankers have never been named in the dusting files of the case, who need no introduction to the Sikh child born decades after the incident.

Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya and the riots that followed in 1992 were no different. 2000 lives were sacrificed in this holy city, staining the bank of Sarayu in blood. We still see the masterminds of the act waving hands, shouting speeches, winning elections, and ruling the land. The complete attack was video filmed and surprisingly that evidence falls short to prove anything in the court of law.

Then it was Godhra, Gujarat, in 2002. Two compartments of train filled with Hindu pilgrims were burnt alive, strong smell of roasting flesh filled the air. What followed were retaliatory attacks on Muslims spearheaded by .... um, I guess you know who. 1106 humans were butchered in a state where it is illegal to slaughter cattle. People were charred to ball of flesh, throats ripped off, minor girls rapped, wombs torn apart. And still after 8 years of 365 days each, still, still you find "Honorable" prefixed to those names, names which should have been replaced by a number given to the jail inmates.

Bombay has seen the racial abuse of South Indian restaurant owners when Marathi right-wing leaders could not tolerate growing population of South Indians in the city. And Mumbai saw the same being done with North Indian laborers. People speaking languages different from Marathi were beaten black and white, their property stolen and destroyed. Rights of the citizens were reduced to sobbing and blaming their fate. Now a days, very few individuals in Mumbai have the right to decide what to say, what to do, what to wear, and whether to make love or not. Life had been held hostage time and again by the saffron captor. And the state government, even though ideologically diagonal to the saffron brigade, has no courage to take even baby steps towards epicenter of hate. Its an irony that in this country, the law-breakers are the ones who promise that rule of law will prevail if they are chosen as the representative.

Christian community has felt the nervousness of existence in this country as minority. They and their dwellings have been burnt alike in Orissa. Places of worship destroyed and civilian rights diminished in Karnataka. Weren't these acts of racism, the same racism that inspired attacks and killings of Indians in Australia?

May be Hafiz Saeed's political and religious importance in Pakistan is similar to that of bosses of saffron brigade in India. If India cannot arrest and prosecute prominent Indian leaders for the crimes committed in India, how can Pakistan touch Hafiz Saeed for 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. Hafiz Saeed may be the reason for death of 209 Indians, but what of those who were responsible for genocide of thousands and thousands of Indians.

If India cannot check on racism in Maharashtra, Karnataka, or Orissa, then how can it dictate to Australia about safety of Indians there. Racial abuse in Australia can be counted, but same cannot be said about Maharashtra, Karnataka, or Orissa. The incidents in India vastly outnumber those in Australia.

But the answers of the questions asked are hardly coming. Is anybody listening? Is anybody even interested in seeing home bread and home fed terrorists prosecuted? If the nation cannot protect its citizens and provide them justice on its own land, then it has very little right to ask for justice on the foreign land.

I'm accepting and expecting constructive creative criticism.
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