The Muslim families that chose to leave Purola, following threats from ‘Hindu’ outfits, should have had more faith in the administration, government and the general ethos of Uttarakhand. It is a serious failure of the system that it could not generate the confidence among these people to remain and assert their constitutional rights. Hopefully, those that remain will be provided the necessary security.
There is no doubt cause for concern regarding activities that are being described collectively as ‘love jihad’. Minor girls are being lured away or abducted by men who pose as Hindus. According to news reports, as many as six such incidents have taken place in the last twelve days. It has become a socially sensitive issue causing concern among the government to the extent that the Chief Minister held a meeting on Friday to review the matter.
However, there is absolutely no reason that local Muslim residents, who have lived in the state for decades, should be targeted by vigilante groups merely because the perpetrators belong to the same religion. Threatening or intimidating women and children is by no means the dharma practiced in India.
It is possible that those in government feel this polarisation will help get votes in the coming elections but, it is worth reiterating, this certainly is not ‘Raj Dharma’. And what about the main opposition party, the Congress? Is it afraid to stand up for human rights because those affected are small in number? Former Chief Minister Harish Rawat, who can be seen staging all kinds of protests across the state, will hopefully set up a tent outside some Muslim family’s home in Purola on the ‘action day’ declared by the so-called defenders of Hindu faith. He should also invite the Chief Minister for tea and samosas on that day, or whatever is the particular dish that area is known for. Otherwise, no one will take any of his protests with the required seriousness.
The whole point of legislations such as the ‘anti-conversion law’ is that the real offenders can be specifically targeted, ensuring that the innocent are not harmed. Otherwise, leave law and order in the hands of mobs – why pick up the salary bills of police personnel and magistrates?
Who will be targeted next? The ‘desis’? Remember, in the first flush of the Uttarakhand agitation that was a dominant sentiment, till better sense prevailed. Advice for all – the true leader leads the people and does not follow the crowd.