Moral ambiguity and the state

The government of India, in its effort to pander to various cultural and religious sentiments, has often resorted to banning books and films, and on several occasions provide no protection to artists and journalists when they are victims of vicious physical assaults. 

Even when political parties have resorted to attacking individuals and organisations whenever the latter have raised uncomfortable issues, the state has rarely, if ever, resorted to prosecuting those responsible. Which is perhaps why the individual who  entered the SC chamber of lawyer and anti-corruption activist Prashant Bhushan and assaulted him yesterday found the courage to announce his intention on various social media websites before the act; not just that, he  then had the temerity to come out and proclaim his "triumph" on the same sites.

More disturbingly, he found support from various sections of the political spectrum, especially from those professing right wing ideology. The person who attacked Bhushan said he did so because he disagreed with his comments about Kashmir. To be sure, if anyone has problems with Bhushan's statements, they can go to the police and register a complaint. However, the perpetrator perhaps knew that even if he physically assaulted Bhushan, the state would have little moral right to prosecute him given the history on matters relating to religion, Kashmir, etc. It is this false courage that is disturbing.

The state needs to prove that it will implement laws equally and have the courage to be impartial, regardless of religion and caste. Only then would this country have a polity that everyone respects. But then again, it might just remain a pipedream.

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