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28 February, 2020 00:00 00 AM
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Tolerance and compassion urgent in India

Tolerance and compassion urgent in India

It’s profoundly disheartening to see the largest democracy in the world roiled by mindless sectarian violence, especially at a time when the US president visited the country. The capital has been a flashpoint for the last few days and the outrage has reportedly been triggered by the desecration of a mosque. In India, Muslims form the second largest minority segment, with almost 201 million, a staggering 14 per cent of the world’s total Muslims.

However, in recent times, the Muslims have voiced their disgruntlement over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which has been deemed anti-Muslims by many. The resentment had been simmering for some time and despite nationwide protests by people from the Muslim community as well as from moderate Hindus, the government refused to budge. The Modi government has come to power with notable public support though it cannot be denied that during its tenure the Hindu- Muslim relation in India has deteriorated alarmingly.

The social division has reached such an extent that Muslim scholars, actors and even the general people feel that they are being cornered through polarizing rhetoric and prejudiced acts. The current situation in India has three dimensions: national, regional and international. Nationally, the country is deeply divided and Modi government has to make some unequivocal promises to look into the grievances of the Muslims and take into consideration their fears, instead of adopting an arbitrary stance on citizenship amendment.  Regionally, the sectarian conflagration in Delhi will severely scar India’s image as a secular nation. For centuries Indian governments, including the present one, have invoked the spirit of nonviolence propagated and defended by Mahatma Gandhi. Unfortunately, the recent events and the unwillingness of the government to make concessions for a harmonious co-existence of Muslims and Hindus are incongruous with the oft-used rhetoric of peace and tolerance. India has seen some major riots in the 90s with grisly violence plus antagonism, which took decades to heal.  Keeping that in mind, the government would be prudent to retreat from a no compromise stance to create a space for dialogue. It’s also baffling that when the Indian government took decision over the citizenship law, it did not envisage possible ramifications of the move. Any step which has the potential to trigger resentment and indignation should be discussed first touching all intricate dimensions, and not imposed at will.

The truth remains, India cannot be the land of one faith and attempting to carve an identity by leaving out Muslims is ludicrous. Modi government should take pragmatic steps for calm with actions that defuse tensions and acrimony.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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