ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Muslims as Secular Interlocutors

In recent months, more so during the pandemic that we were all trying to contain and overcome, there has, inter alia, been a growing and alarming theme in the media that can be described in phrases familiar to the free-world like fake news, Islamophobia, sectarianism, fascism, and closer home as blatant communalism. Members of the civil services for long assumed to be ideology neutral have been speaking out to question the value of secularism as such. Of late, secularism has begun to be labelled as separatism that undermines uniformity. Talk of the Uniform Civil Code is sourced in the same attitude. It is an undeniable fact that though this had been building up before the 2014 elections as well, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) victory of that year emboldened the dark side of Indian politics to publicly spew poison without fear of any legal sanction with the government leadership preferring to look away or shrug their shoulders, sometimes even blaming the very persons against whom hate was directed.

The horrifying lynchings across the country substituted the past practice of triggering riots as a dire warning to the minorities with no large-scale implications for the ruling establishments such as the Mumbai riots in 1993 and Gujarat riots in 2002 had caused. Yet, when these new instruments did not serve their evil designs, the old, time-tested versions were again resorted to as in the north-east Delhi riots of the early 2020. There too, where rioters stopped their mayhem, the local police have stepped in to harass and humiliate the very targeted persons. Secular voices remain unheard and ineffective, even hounded by the police. Since the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) will be back, we need to be prepared to deal with its complexities. It might be important to record that despite the Congress party reaching out to the victims of the government retaliation against protestors, there was a concerted effort to keep its leaders away and Congress-associated lawyers at some distance.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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