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Protest, but with discipline and dignity

On Saturday night, angry Shiv Sainiks took to the streets after images of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray that they deemed derogatory appeared on social media. The political party’s leaders then approached ministers who promised to remove the objectionable content. Soon, there was a block on the material and the page was removed. The matter should have been resolved as there were promises that the culprits would soon be brought to book.

Yet, there was stone throwing in certain areas and public property was once again damaged, including some buses. While one cannot argue about the material being offensive, one fails to understand what is achieved by these protests where innocents lives are turned upside down.

Surely, there are better ways to express ire and anger, a silent protest or even a strongly-worded piece in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna should be the way to go about it.

For so many years now, citizens have been held ransom to protests that disrupt their life and many times put them in danger. Public property, paid for by taxpayers’ money has been destroyed. Let this new government bring an end to such protests that are thinly veiled destruction sprees. If we want to see a new India that is moving ahead, and bring fruition to all the hopes people had when they elected this new government with such a sweeping majority, it is time to put an end to such agitations and deal with it firmly. First on the agenda should be discipline and dignity. Then if matters are not resolved, it may be time to take it a notch further, but certainly not at the cost of an ordinary person’s life, limb or even property.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally Shiv Sena, may be angry at the social media depiction, but violence and breakage of property, stone throwing, fires, obstructing persons are all uncalled for and unnecessary. Out with the old and in with a new way of expressing opposition, with dignity and respect for others as a cornerstone.

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