The communal situation in the northern states including capital Delhi showed a marked deterioration in recent days, forcing governments to review the overall security scenario in the context also of the upcoming Eid and several Hindu festivals. Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister Yogi Adityanath has announced a set of steps including the tightening of curbs on religious processions and use of microphones in public places. Other sensitive states too have ordered or hinted at effecting such curbs. Peace is of prime importance and any step in this direction should be accepted and appreciated by one and all – with a caveat that no kind of discrimination should be attempted at between communities while implementing such rules.
Fact of the matter is everyone is keen on stretching the limits when it comes to organising processions, use of loud speakers etc., through main thoroughfares or at public grounds or from religious centres; more so the majority community for the reason that it has one or other festival coming up every now and then. For Christianity and Islam, there are limited occasions when they spread out to the streets or cause traffic blockades. A church-induced discipline is inherent when Christians get on to the streets. The same thing cannot be said of Hindu or Muslim celebrations in the streets, which invariably hold up traffic for hours. The sounds from both Hindu and Muslim religious centres are often beyond acceptable levels. The organisers are unmindful of the trouble it causes to others. The tendency on all our part is to “indulge” when it comes to celebrations; which is not a bad idea, as long as it does not affect the peace of others.
Political parties are one up when it comes to creating chaotic situations in the streets and no rule is applicable to them, whether they are on the ruling side or in the Opposition. Their sound decibels are of the highest order and no one dares question them. When it comes to religious events, our prejudices will have the better of us and the intolerance at what others do is all too palpable. This leads to communal tensions and riots. When the army of the unemployed youths keeps swelling due to low-paced economic development, it is natural that religion and politics becomes a heady potion. It will be in the fitness of things that society should keep changing for the better with the passage of time. Freedom to study, freedom to be at peace with oneself and freedom to sleep are also part of our fundamental rights. But Indians are increasingly being deprived of these freedoms.
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