Mangalore was hooliganism, gender abuse and sexual harassment. Not terrorism.
In the wake of the inhumane incidents at a Mangalore pub which are undoubtedly tantamount to goonda-ism and autocracy in free, democratic India, the media and public in general have rightly raised voices calling for strict and severe action against the accused. Such deplorable acts of violence against women have no place in contemporary Indian society that has progressively evolved in the right direction and offers opportunities galore for all sectors of society to earn rewards for hard work and perseverance. Perverted, fundamentalist groups that masquerade in the name of God hence go against the spirit and values of the India that is making commendable strides in diverse fields.
Inarguably, India has judiciously moved on to an improved standard of living for its people and any attempt to sabotage a safer, developed nation should be effectively curbed and eliminated. The threats imposed by fringe right-wing groups should be pre-empted and the bhakt senas banned immediately irrespective of political affiliations or blessings from power brokers.
However, a disappointing outcome of the outburst against the Mangalore hooligans has been the constant attempts by the media and the public in general to equate the larger threat of cross-border terrorism with the incidents in Karnataka. By no means does Mangalore even feature close to the audacious terror attacks on Mumbai or for that matter even Delhi/Ahmedabad/Jaipur/Bangalore and several other Indian cities. The sheer scale of the number of dead in the various blasts of 2008 is enough to ensure that terrorism from across the border features at the number one position on India’s priority list.
Moreover, terror acts are meticulously planned, extensively prepared for and then executed with a monstrosity and fanaticism that only believes in the piling up of dead bodies irrespective of religion, caste and creed. Then how does Mangalore feature in this category? Or is the Mangalore incident yet to be completely disclosed by the media and there were indeed a lot of girls slaughtered and raped to death?
Another inadequate term that might soon become a catchphrase with the media which has emerged in the obsessive reporting of this incident is the word Taliban. Sure, the Taliban’s ideology is the complete disempowerment of women and their ostracism from societal participation. Sure, even the hooligans in Mangalore would have that deep down in their minds. But there is a difference between slapping a woman and chopping her head off without the slightest remorse. Just like there is a difference between India and the fundamentally wicked “original” Taliban. If incidents like Mangalore occur in every nook and corner of India, only then do words like “Taliban” and “terrorism” deserve to feature in mainstream vocabulary.
Surely, there is a difference between Mangalore’s reprehensible violence and the Indians dead in the Mumbai attacks. Or have our feelings for the dead gone astray in the wake of the acts of Mangalore, the videos of which are replayed again and again by the media to invoke rage and the “true Indian” in us who spares a minute or two for its people? The same “true Indian” who conveniently glues the tag of terrorism to such incidents. What is required is to deal with all wrongdoing rationally and at its magnitude of occurrence along with other factors like fatalities involved and degree of violence engaged in.
May the Law have the last say.
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