Tuesday, 18 February 2014

If Rajiv Gandhi's killers can be spared, then why was Afzal Guru hanged?

The three persons have been convicted for the murder of India's Prime Minister. Yet, the killers of Rajiv Gandhi are going to live.

The Supreme Court has decided to commute their death penalty into life imprisonment. The honourable court's decision is final.

There is no scope for disagreement. But politicians, citizens and activists in Jammu and Kashmir, now ask why 'Afzal Guru' wasn't pardoned.

Was his crime as serious and in the same league. In his case, there was no direct evidence but to satisfy the 'collective conscience' of the society, it was decided to hang him to death.

Even his family was not formally informed about the decision to hang him. It was undoubtedly an inhuman act. His family could have met him a last time before he was hanged. But the government machinery was sure that they had to kill him. Was it a lust for blood?

The signals aren't right. In J and K, it sends the wrong message. Punjab government did it best to save Bhullar from death penalty. The trio--Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, have been spared the gallows. Why? It is not court's decision alone. 

The reality is that the prevailing jingoistic atmosphere where nothing is allowed to be discussed, if it is 'sensitive'.The BJP is the second biggest party. But it was never serious for capital punishment for Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan. It wanted Afzal Guru to be hanged.

While in most cases, the mercy petitions aren't disposed or the convict gets reprieve by PRESIDENT. However, Afzal's death penalty was not commuted. Why? Is it because he was a Muslim? These are really serious questions. The manner in which Afzal was made an enemy of the nation, proves how media and politicians joined hands to kill him.

It augurs bad for the nation when there is such clear difference on case to case basis. Are we a bloodthirsty nation?

Monday, 17 February 2014

Jains officially a religious minority in India: Will Pravin Togadia, a Jain, target minorities now?

Pravin Togadia, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader, who has targeted minorities and made extremely inflammatory speeches in the country, is himself a minority now.

Togadia, who is a Jain, has repeatedly made incendiary comments against religious minorities across India.

Once he said that if he became the Prime Minister, he would take away electoral rights from Muslims. Togadia has made public speeches that minorities should be economically boycotted.

VHP is known for being a right-wing organisation but Togadia's fanaticism is unmatched. An interesting aspect is that Togadia doesn't speak about the fact that he is a follower of Jainism. His supporters are active on cyber space too.

Any mention that he is a Jain is quickly removed from his Wikipedia page, citing that 'it is not important in context to the article'. He apparently considers Jains as part of Hinduism, though leading Jain saints and seers, strongly vouch for Jainism as an independent and older religion.

While Digambar Jains generally use 'Jain' as surname, the Shwetambaras who are more in Gujarat, use their caste or original surnames, rather than using the religion. On the movement for giving Jains, a religious minority status, he has remained silent.

Togadia is notorious for his hate speeches but the lawmakers have been soft on him. He has targeted Christians for their missionary activity and for 'conversion' of Hindus. The truth is that Christians convert few people in India, compared to the conversion by Jains in rural and tribal parts of India.

In one Gujarat district, Panchmahal, lakhs of Dalits and Tribals were converted. The sudden rise of Jain population in India in the last two decades shows it. Since the central government has bestowed minority status on Jains, we haven't heard much from Togadia.

Seems he doesn't want to touch the topic. But it is interesting to see if he attacks minorities again, and will someone ask him about his being a 'minority' in India.

Popular Posts