By Artika Raj:
As reports come in of the Christian community protesting outside the Sacred Hearts Cathedral in Connaught Place, asking the government, the Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and the PM Shri Narendra Modi to answer why after 5 churches getting vandalised in Delhi, there is still no statement from the corridors of power that be – today is a sad day for us. Today is a sad day for me as a citizen. As an Indian.
As I watch my fellow countrymen holding up placards that say ‘Thank You Jesus, I am An Indian’, ‘United We Stand, Divided We Fall’, and ‘Sikh-Isai Bhai-Bhai’, I am moved beyond words that things have come to such a pass that a non-violent protest sees the police imposing Section 144 (preventing 5 or more people from assembling) in the area, causing much more mayhem than if they would just let the protesters voice their genuine concerns. Concerns of a minority that need to be addressed. How does the head of a democratically elected government sit quietly and let things come to such a pass that a whole section of our ‘secular’ society feels threatened to live in a home and a country they have been born and brought up in? A nation they belong to and love as much as anyone else. It is indeed very sad that they must stand up and articulate this love, pushed into a corner to vouch for their Indian-ness. They are being forced to demand for rights that are unquestionably theirs. Freedoms that are theirs by right.
Forgive me if I ask this most politically incorrect of questions – would the government today have been as quiet and unmindful, offering cursory police investigations as pacification, if only one Hindu temple had been vandalised like the Churches have been? We all know the answer to that. And it is a reflection of the dark times that are upon us, if we don’t realise this sooner, that this silent acknowledgment of the answer but not speaking up against this wrong, threatens the very foundation of the secular credentials our forefathers built this country upon.
As young boys and girls of school going age, grey-haired old gentlemen and women, pristine white-scarfed nuns are jostled and pushed about, reading glasses fall askew, one shoe of a pair is left alone behind… standing-by are buses waiting to whisk them away to far off locations so as to shut down their protests. Meanwhile in other parts of the city, election campaigning in equal if not larger numbers rages on as Delhi goes to elections this weekend. Promises galore of things that shall be done when such and such will come to power. But for now, it is the numbers and the seats that matter, the loudest debates are on these, while a peaceful protest is muffled.
The politics is on while humanity is being slowly silenced. And pain is all I feel.
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