MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi is in the eye of a storm kicked up by his controversial speech. His vitriolic words have drawn condemnation from across the political spectrum — and increased his following among the hawks in his party.
However, in the frenzy to nail the MIM’s floor leader, we are ignoring the impunity hate mongers enjoy in this country. Likes of Praveen Togadia, the Thackeray cousins, leaders of numerous regional political and religious outfits and caste party satraps make equally venomous comments and get away with it.
Recently, Union minister Salman Khurshid had publicly threatened Aam Admi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal with violence if the latter ever dared to enter his constituency — and was promptly executed by his supporters. We haven’t seen Khurshid being arrested.
Politicians across party lines continue to make derogatory remarks against rape victims. Why don’t we see those powerful Sections of Indian Penal Code invoked against them? Ignoramuses like Asaram Bapu continue to walk free.
Leaders of caste kangaroo courts that make a mockery of the law of the land with their ‘verdicts’ of violent retribution and honour killings are free men. They continue to be key elements in the scheme of political parties.
Barely a week back, killers of Indira Gandhi, executed for the severest acts of treason and terrorism, were honoured by the highest religious body of Sikhs as martyrs. We don’t see Akal Takht leaders handcuffed and bundled into police vehicles.
There are several political leaders in Tamil Nadu who openly endorse the LTTE — still listed as a terrorist organisation by the country. Those who engineered the attacks on Sri Lankan pilgrims in the state are still roaming the streets, continuing their propaganda of hate and division.
Separatist leaders of Kashmir, who unleash anti-India tirades and continually support merger with Pakistan, continue to be free.
As a matter of fact, government of India allows them to visit Pakistan and meet anti-India leaders. Clerics who issue those outrageous fatwas that infringe on Constitution-guaranteed liberties are never touched.
Our holy cow approach to dealing with such people owing to their caste, region and religion has allowed them to become extra-constitutional authorities that act above the law. This, however, is not surprising in a country where scientists who make inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) prostrate before ‘human gods’.
What the MIM does in its strongholds in Hyderabad is no different from what Shiv Sena and MNS does in the Mumbai-Thane belt. The stranglehold it keeps on the community and its political power projection ensures that there is no dearth of fodder for Sangh Parivar organisations in Old City.
There is nothing unique about Akbaruddin Owaisi, and there is definitely nothing new about the toxicity in his speeches. Hate speech cases are nothing new to people like him and his equally competent counterparts in the saffron fold.
It is universal knowledge that all of them will go scot-free after the initial hype, a few court hearings and prolonged legal battles. Lawyers will take care of business in the court while their clients continue to ply their trade in public fora.
Unless there are convictions, jail sentences and punishments like debarring them from any kid of political activity and public office, there is no hope of de-fanging these merchants of hate.
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My interests lie in current affairs, social issues and political analysis. A strong believer of independent thinking and healthy scepticism.