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Millennium Post

Let peace prevail this festive season

Elsewhere, uneasy calm prevails in Saharanpur in Western UP, after communal clashes ended up in taking three lives days before the Islamic celebrations. In Maharashtra Sadan, Shiv Sena MPs force-fed a Muslim staff and made him break his Ramadan fast, precipitating a major controversy in Parliament and pulling the lid off systemic discrimination that minorities face even in hallowed corridors of government offices.

Evidently, these are not the best of times, but can’t we make a collective effort towards consolidating peace, in both the small and large-scale setups? For one, we can rise above our sectarian politics and expect that our politicians and elected members of Parliament do the same. We, as citizens of a democratic republic, must compel the government and our ministers to steer clear of riot politics, especially as pre-poll strategy in delicate provinces. One Muzaffarnagar in UP should be a grim reminder for both the state and central governments that such a shameful episode isn’t repeated in future.

While the Supreme Court came down hard on fatwas from maulvis and other interpreters of Sharia law, declaring them as non-binding, it should now bring in the anti-communal riot bill to address the escalating sectarian and religious strife in states like UP, Rajasthan, Haryana, West Bengal, among others. On the other hand, rampant appeasement of fringe elements within parties, particularly the virulently communal and hate-mongering tribe advocating cracks in the sociopolitical fabric along religious, linguistic or caste axes, should be disallowed. As must condemned be gestures that are purely aimed at galvanising members of a particular community, such as wearing skull caps or tikas and flare up dormant religious passions at sensitive times.

Certainly, the most heart-wrenching development this Eid is the brutish killing of men, women and children in Gaza by Israeli Defence Forces. How can this longstanding apartheid between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli settler Jews be allowed by the international community, without any condemnation of the illegal occupation of Gaza and West Bank by Netanyahu’s men? With the conflict in Syria, Libya and Iraq worsening by the day, large swathes of the region under ISIS occupation, life is verily under siege in the greater Middle East. Repercussions in India have followed, with protesters and Palestinian symapthisers killed in Kashmir, demonstrators staging a protest in front of Israeli embassy injured in New Delhi. The only hope has been the slow but steady progress of Iranian nuclear talks with the UN Security Council, with president Hassan Rouhani guiding the Persian nation out of the penumbra of global isolation. Let negotiation and diplomatic parley replace tank fires and missiles now so that hapless, stateless people get refuge in peace.         


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