Falling short: On action against violence in the name of religion

Perpetrators of violence in the name of religion must be brought to justice

That mainstream parties are unable to take an unambiguous and universal position that violence and the call for violence, in the name of faith, are unacceptable is unsettling and bodes ill for Indian democracy. Despite sporadic bursts of communal violence, India, unlike its neighbours in South Asia, has survived and thrived as a multicultural and multi-religious nation till date. Keeping it that way requires vigilance and vision. Violence originates in thought, transmits itself through speech and manifests itself in action. Targets in the recent past have ranged from interfaith couples to carol singers to cattle traders to teachers setting question papers. New laws appear to reinforce and institutionalise prejudice and intolerance. The heavy hand of the state that falls too frequently on the critics of the Government has left the mobs that threaten national unity untouched. Those who committed murder in Punjab, those who called for mass murder from Haridwar and those who vandalised Christian institutions in different places must all be brought to justice as per the law. Political parties must rise above their narrow interests during the current election cycle and unite against hate. Later may be too late.

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