Rohit Kumar's Views

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We can’t allow anyone to do this

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by: Afshain Afzal

Some Indians, in order to prove that they are liberal and open-minded, often cross all limits. The Meghalaya Police on February 18, seized around 120 books with blasphemous pictures of Jesus Christ from a distributor in Bara Bazar and the principal of Christian missionary School. The offensive picture was found in a cursive writing exercise book used by Class I students of St. Joseph Girls Higher Secondary School in Shillong, capital of Meghalaya.

The cursive writing book meant for Class I is a spelling tutor, where ‘Idol’ is used for ‘I’. Against this word, a picture of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette and a beer can was shown. The picture was also printed in cursive writing books of Class II, III and IV. The publication not only deeply hurt sentiments of Christian but Muslims were also shocked and their feelings hurt. According to the details, some evil minded persons in India published pictures of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette in one hand and a beer can in the other. Jesus Christ, also known as Hazrat Eassa (Alhe Salam), was prophet of Islam whose followers include present day Christians. All the Muslims originations condemned the publication and demanded action against all those involved. National Council of Churches in India also condemned the publication and said that it will demand from Meghalaya government to install a mechanism to scan all school books. The Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM), Shillong Archdiocese, condemned the publication and demanded strict action against all those involved. The ICYM issued a press release in which it said “The publication of the despicable picture has deeply hurt our religious sentiments, and its publisher has manifestly breached the provisions of the Constitution of India.’

Although, the Meghalaya Police has registered a case against the publisher, Skyline Publication, under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) but one wonders if this is sufficient for such sick persons. In the past, a number of times religious sentiments of the Indian minorities were badly injured but no stick action was taken against the culprits. The Indian newspaper Statesman’s Editor Ravindra Kumar and publisher Anand Sinha were also guilty of reproducing an article from the UK’s Independent daily in its February 5, 2009 edition. The article was entitled: “Why should I respect these oppressive religions?” The author, Johann Hari, writes: “I don’t respect the idea that we should follow a ‘Prophet’ who … ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn’t follow him.” Although the newspaper committed an offence under Section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code which is non-bailable but court granted bail to Ravindra Kumar and Anand Sinha as if nothing has happened. Regrettably, when Muslims carried out protest demonstration in front of the offices of the Statesman, Indian Police used baton charges several times to disperse the crowd. The western media gave a lot of projection to the incident if some wonder has been done by the newspaper. In an interview to BBC, Ravindra Kumar instead to apologizing said “I admit it was an editorial misjudgment but it was never intentional.” India is also guilty of proving asylum to Bengali writer Taslima Nasreen who is guilty of writing blasphemous book Lajja, which has been banned by the Bangladesh Government.

In the instant case of publishing blasphemous material regarding Jesus Christ, the evil minded Delhi based publisher was quick enough to apologize but the question arises, is this sufficient. We need to punish such extremist so that in future no one dares to commit such grave crime again. In fact, it is a conspiracy to play with the sentiments of Christian and Muslims. It is not only the writer and publisher who are responsible for such criminal blunder but Indian Ministry of Education is equally involved. Indian Union Education Minister Kapil Sibal has ordered a probe into the incident but so far no one from Ministry of Education has been arrested. It is a general observation that countries in order to prove themselves a free and secular society trespass others beliefs and sentiments. India has right to give complete liberty to its people but no civilized nation can allow people to play with the sentiments of others in the name of secularism. It is not the first case of such a sinful attempt but due to the leniency of the Indian government such people have gained strength. If an exemplary punishment was awarded to all those involved in the past, no one could have dared to repeat such a satanic attempt again.

It is a test for India that what action is taken against those responsible for such blasphemous publication. One wonders what if India fails to respect the sentiments of all those hurt. No doubt, it was a conspiracy to put a scanner on Indian text books but one is shocked to see that the western agents can go so low to achieve their objectives. India has still time to preserve its culture and traditions of communal harmony and come out of the western conspiracy. We need to understand that there is hell of bloody difference between the western and eastern values. Though, the west is not that bad as good people also exist there but no one can deny the fact that presently the reins of the governments are mostly controlled by evil powers. India is a subcontinent of many nationalities and its government must respect all schools of thought. It is ironical that not only the minorities of India are suppressed class but Hindus too do not enjoy their complete rights. In order to pave way for western values, Hindus and other communities, who believe in vigilance of society, are considered extremists and are subject to criticism. Where all communities should be allowed to propagate their views freely, as they have the right to follow any school of thought, nevertheless, no one should be allowed to hurt the religious sentiments of others. In order to achieve this objective, India should abide by its constitution as well as the agreement between India and Pakistan over minorities.