The arrest of two innocent girls who simply exercised their freedom of speech, makes me feel ashamed of being an Indian today. Does the freedom of speech and expression no longer exist in our country? Incredible India will be really incredible only when such shameful actions are condemned.
Is being ‘Indian’ a crime, and just being a ‘Mumbaikar’ a matter of pride? In that case, I am happy to be regarded as a criminal, for this is the policy that the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena seem to have adopted. They have hijacked the freedom of speech that is guaranteed by the constitution and arrogated the authority to decide who will enter Mumbai and who will not, when the constitution gives me the freedom to walk on every inch of my motherland without any fear. Then why am I so scared today?
Let me give some examples of the double-faced nature of the Shiv Sena and MNS. Only a couple of years ago, Shiv Sainiks threatened to stall the screening of the movie Kurbaan, saying they would not tolerate Kareena Kapoor going backless. But what do they have to say today about the Maharashtrian Rakhi Sawant whose dress sense is an embarrassment to Indian families?
The same Shiv Sena that invited Javed Miandad as their guest in 2004, took offence when Shah Rukh Khan suggested that Pakistan cricketers be allowed to play in the IPL.
Perhaps the best example of their hypocrisy was their condemnation of the abuse of Indians in Australia a couple of years ago, but they chose to attack North Indians who came to Mumbai to write the railway exams.
As a citizen of India, and a student, I was all charged up when I cast my vote in the elections, to choose a party to form a government that would take care of my security and let me exercise my fundamental rights. Then why does this government seem helpless in acting against the people who are making a mockery of the constitution?
What baffles me is how we let our anger die down within a few days of such incidents, which is what emboldens these anti-social elements and the government. We must build the pressure on the government to act against the policemen who arrested the innocent girls.
In this context, I have to admit that I felt let down by our prime minister, in the weak statements he made after the Mumbai terror attack and the subsequent bomb blasts. It was hardly the way the man in charge addresses a terrorised and angry people. Very different from the aggression of the US president after the co-ordinated suicide attacks on New York and Washington. Mr prime minister, you have failed to assure me of my safety.
Let us not let this incident pass us by like so many others before. We must build the pressure. We must get results. Justice must be delivered.
The writer is doing his masters in biomedical engineering