Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Safety of Minorities Ensures the Safety of our Country

The year 2008 is remembered with memories full of stains of blood, violence and displacement of Dalit Christians in Kandhamal, Orissa, caused by the attacks of the inhuman religious fundamentalists. It has witnessed the killings of nearly 50 people, displacement of nearly 50, 000 people and about 10, 000 people even till today to reside in the relief camps. Religious fundamentalists had their day, attacked Dalit and Tribal Christians so brutally, killed innocent people, destroyed their property and created a fear psychosis among people, all this just for the sake of professing their faith boldly and openly in the values of Jesus Christ, which was a means for their Liberative living. When the violence was on, police machinery were mere spectators and did not come in rescue of the victims, most perpetrators of violence went scot-free and the governments as usual were docile, came late and said the violence is a ‘national shame’. For already five months till now, the survivors had to be in the camps with meagre basic amenities. No Christmas celebration all across India would have gone without contemplating on these black memories. Most churches either cancelled their festive celebrations in solidarity with the victims and survivors of religious and ethnic violence in Kandhamal or held the occasion in a low profile. Most homilies for the Christmas called on the people to bring peace on earth and create communities of peace by bridging the gaps among people of different faiths.

During the very first week of 2009, on the 5th January, a bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan of the Supreme Court of India, the apex court of justice had said that it cant allow the persecutions of minorities in India, and called on the State Government of Orissa to resign if it is unable to protect the minorities in its State. The bench of jury also criticised the State Government for addressing the issue very late after the displacement of 50, 000 people and for stepping in late to contain the violence in Kandhamal. It also said that no minority in secular India should be unsafe.

All the responsible citizens in India welcomed the judgement, for such judgements once again reminded the citizens that secularism is alive, justice is not dead and constitution provides hope for all its people. It has reiterated that until and unless the minorities in India are safe, India cannot be safe and secure. Hope that at least this judgement shall wake up the governments to ensure that they shall provide safety and security to all its citizens, with out any religious colour attached. Now the challenge ahead is, how far can such genuine judgements instigate the governments to address the rights of the minorities?

Even earlier the Central Government had sent an advisory to the Orissa State Government regarding their inefficiency in dealing the violence in its state. But again political interests superseded the constitutional interests and such an advisory became mere eyewash. In such a situation how can this judgement of Supreme Court challenge the governments to ensure safety to its people? Now the Orissa government rather than having introspection from the judgement, will take this judgement to its majority people in Orissa, and can gain sympathy from them and may even use it for a political mileage. This judgement will now be used by the opposition parties in pointing the ruling governments inefficiency and will use it for their own political mileage too.

Therefore the challenge for the civil society is to make sure that the state government shall accept its biased governance, and should make all the politicians irrespective of their political affiliations held responsible for wedding religion with politics and for fanning the violence in the state. The other role of the civil society is also to take this verdict to the people, and make them understand the importance of peace and peace building and thereby should create harmony among people of different faiths. Now the situation also calls for an urgent unity among all minorities and responsible citizens to withstand the forces of fundamentalism and make secularism and justice to be established.

Acharya Vinobha Bhave ‘s famous Anthyodaya is Sarvodaya becomes so relevant, that when the least in the society receives transformation only then the whole society is transformed. Therefore unless the minorities in India are safe, the whole country cannot be safe. Let us all as faithful citizens of this great country India pledge to counter all forces that create hatred among people, faiths, religions and regions and try to make secularism triumphant.

7th January 2009

1 comment:

Kasta said...

The concerns shared are worth reflecting and we need to be more proactive than ever before to be harbingers of peace and communal harmony.

Safety of minority would also ensure safety of the nation like ours. Thanks Bharat for your insight.

Kasta