From ink attacks to event disruptions, India asks if tolerance and acceptance of dissent is on wane
A series of incidents in the recent past have not just shamed us as a community on the whole, but have also brought to the fore an intolerant face of India to the fore. From the protests in Mumbai over the concert of Pakistani Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali to the ink attack in the national capital on Jammu and Kashmir MLA Engineer Rashid, one face of country that’s not willing to accept the views on the other side was exposed before the world.
It is disturbing how the administration is finding it tough to tame the violent protests that have constantly been able to disrupt one event after another in cities like Mumbai and New Delhi.
On Monday, even President Pranab Mukherjee expressed concern over the incidents. Addressing a gathering in Birbhum in West Bengal, the President said, "Is tolerance and acceptance of dissent on the wane? Humanism and pluralism should not be abandoned under any circumstance."
Pointing that the "Indian civilisation has survived for 5000 years because of its tolerance", the President said, “Assimilation through receiving is a characteristic of Indian society."
And it's not the just the President who is outraged at the development, there has been uproar on the social media as well due to the series of incidents.
Here are the incidents that have raised questions on the tolerance level of India as a society:
Engineer Rashid ink attack: A handful of activists allegedly belonging to a right-wing organisation blackened the face of independent MLA Engineer Rashid using ink for defying the ban on beef by hosting a party in Srinagar earlier in October. Rashid, who has been at the forefront of the agitation against beef ban, had earlier also faced an attack for his stand on the issue.
Reacting to the incident, former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah termed it as a tragic incident, saying it showed the growing intolerance in the society. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi should look into who is behind the attack on the MLA," said Abdullah.
BCCI meet disruption: Continuing their agitation against Pakistani personalities, Shiv Sena workers on Monday stormed the Indian Cricket Board headquarters in protest against scheduled talks with PCB chief Shaharyar Khan over resumption of bilateral cricketing ties with Pakistan. Ten Sena workers were arrested on charges of unlawful assembly but were later granted bail.
The talks on the proposed bilateral series have now been rescheduled to be held in Delhi on Tuesday.
Condemning the attack, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said, "The government will take a fianl decision on Indo-Pak series. A meeting with PCB chief doesn't mean the series is on. I strongly condemn Shiv Sena's behaviour. This is no way to lodhe protest against something."
Sudheendra Kulkarni ink attack: Last week, Shiv Sena sainiks allegedly threw ink on Sudheendra Kulkarni, who was the organiser of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri's book launch in Mumbai.
"Sainiks attacked me outside my home. Eight to ten Shiv Sena activists came home and right as I was leaving black paint was smeared all over my face. I was abused by them," Kulkarni had said.
Justifying the attack, Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that this was just a soft attack and it will continue such attacks as long as Pakistan is honoured in India. "This is not ink but the blood of our soldier. The ink attack is just a soft reaction on Kulkarni."
Ghulam Ali concert cancellation: Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali concert in Mumbai was cancelled after Shiv Sena threatened protest outside the venue. The concert was scheduled for October 9 in the memory of legendary singer Jagjit Singh.
Terming the decision to cancel the concert 'wrong', Ghulam Ali said, "I have not cancelled the concert but atmosphere was not conducive for me to perform. A wrong decision has been taken. We want relations between India and Pakistan to improve."