An eye for an eye

In the movie The Untouchables, Sean Connery, playing Jim Malone, delivers the following memorable lines (courtesy IMDB):

You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. *That’s* the *Chicago* way! And that’s how you get Capone. Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that?…

Well, we have our own versions of the Chicago way in India too. In case you didn’t read today’s newspaper, this article in the Hindu gives an update.

Seven people were killed, four of them in police firing, in unabated violence in Orissa’s Kandhamal district, taking the toll to nine, in the backlash to the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati as curfew was clamped in all major towns of the district.

Vigilante justice may seem fine in comic books and in the movies, but when it happens in civilised society it’s something to be concerned about. If you know beyond a doubt that someone is guilty, then by all means use the law to punish them. If that fails, go to the media. Or go on a hunger strike. There are so many options that don’t involve using varying degrees of violence or in this case killing people.

What irks me to no end is that incidents like these keep happening and that some people will justify the violence saying that it was a reaction or a backlash. Let’s get one thing straight: it wasn’t right that someone killed people at an ashram and it isn’t right that more people were killed as a reaction to the original incident. In fact, the latter exacerbates the situation.

That all this is done in the name of religion is even more insane. We’ve so many pressing problems in India and it’s amazing how much time is spent worrying about “hurting religious sentiments”, “communal tension”, conversions, and whatever else. Who cares if you’re Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Atheist or whatever else?

Just live and let live.

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2 thoughts on “An eye for an eye

  1. What happened in Orissa was worse than ‘an eye for an eye’. According to the police, the VHP leader was killed by naxalites. The VHP activists just used this incident as an excuse to attack and kill Christians, and destroy their places of worship, schools and houses. There was no justification at all for what they did.

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