It was strange to park in St. Patrick’s Church on Sunday and then realize that a policeman was standing a few feet away. And then to learn, hour and a half later, that there were more churches vandalised, this time in Bangalore.
I figured that this would be a good time to comment the churches in Karnataka being vandalised by anti-conversion re-activists. But Monday’s Deccan Herald editorial hit the nail on the CM’s head, so why create when you can copy. Here’s a paragraph (emphasis mine):
Ensuring law and order and maintaining communal harmony is the duty of any state government, but unfortunately, the chief minister and the other ministers in the BJP government, seemed to give an impression initially that they were ready to wink at the attacks as they were not without provocation. Mr Yeddyurappa even hinted that his government would probe the flow of foreign funds to Christian organisations which were reportedly indulging in forcible conversions. If clandestine conversions are indeed taking place at the instance of some extremist evangelical groups, the government should investigate and initiate action against them, instead of painting everyone with the same brush.
The point that I highlighted is the key to the whole affair. The response from the government’s side was that since there were forcible conversions going on, a point not proved yet, it was a “reaction”, ostensibly a natural one. The inference you had to make was that because “X” happened, a reaction “Y” was inevitable.
This is a similar kind of argument that other groups like the Indian Mujahideen make–you targeted our people (X), so we’ll bomb your cities (Y). Of course, I am not equating both the incidents or both groups, but the arguments are remarkably similar. The government of the state should not be using these kinds of arguments, but protecting its citizens and not giving tacit approval.
It’s a good thing that nobody was killed, but a particular community was targeted and it was done systematically. The damage that was done to people’s confidence in the government and the state’s machinery will take a while to heal.
The other thing is that if there are forcible conversions going on, please complain to the police and get people arrested; nobody should be forcing anyone to do anything against their will. Indulging in vandalism, destroying property, and scare-mongering is not the way to go in civilized society.
If anything, this is a step backward to those cave-person days when one caveman beat up another so he could you-know-what with the latter’s possibly hot wife. We have moved ahead from those days to “civilization” and to argue that doing these sorts of things is okay is to admit that your brain has not evolved from the cave-person days.
Do this “reactionary” thing elsewhere and you get slammed. Consider that in football, the footballer who reacts to a strong tackle, or an illegal tackle, is dealt with equally harshly as the initial perpetrator. It’s the same in hockey, raise a stick at an opponent to cause harm and you’ll find yourself out of the game faster than you can blink. You can go on with the examples.
The point is this: When you were three, maybe it was okay for you to say, “He started it,” and truly believe that your argument was fair.
Thing is, we’re not three-year-olds anymore.
— Update: 29-Sep-2008 —
Interesting piece by Ammu Joseph on the Hoot regarding the way the media handled the reporting.