You have called for "inter-religious dialogue" and in no uncertain terms you say (there are media reports quoting you) "I strongly condemn these acts of violence and vandalism which cannot be condoned or justified.The law must take its course and the culprits must be brought to justice..."
Well, Mr. Advani.... I, for one, would like to believe this statement.Unfortunately, your track record exposes your double speak and well, your insincerity.
As somebody aspiring to be a future Prime Minister of the country, (and the fact that you are the icon of the BJP), you will have to first rein in all the fascist forces that support your ideology and your agenda.How about booking the many from the Bajrang Dal, the RSS and the VHP who have systematically been attacking Churches and killing innocent Christians in different parts of the country ?(Orissa and Karnataka are just current examples of this reality.)How about disassociating yourself from them completely ? and perhaps, joining vast sections of the country who call for their ban ?
When you call for "inter-religious dialogue", I don't suppose you mean that men and women of faith should talk or dialogue with terrorist organizations ?Or do you ?
You say you have a "soft corner" for Christians but then, how is it that you have never raised your voice when the Christians of Gujarat were attacked in 1998/99 by these same fascist forces and when they continue to be attacked in several other parts of the country ?You thought it prudent enough not to make a statement on Sunday 14th September when Christians and Churches were being attacked in Karnataka - just as the National BJP meeting was concluding in the State.It amuses me that you had to go to Shillong and make a statement several days after thousands of Christians have been hounded from their homes and property in Orissa.Do you think such hollow statements can actually give the BJP votes there ?In your wisdom, did you not think it would have been more appropriate, if in Bangalore, your party passed a resolution condemning the attacks on Christians and other minorities in this country ? So why go to Shillong to make your statement ....?Do you think that the "Aaam aadmi" cannot see through your ploy.... ?
However, can we start from the very beginning....?
What about 1990 when you began the Rath Yatra with much fanfare ?In an attempt to destroy the secular fabric of our Constitution, your "Rath of Death" polarized Gujarat and several parts of the country as never before.Yes, it definitely garnered you votes and perhaps put your party in power (for which they areeternally grateful ! ).But any one with conventional wisdom will tell you that narrow short-term gains normally negatelong-term acceptance and solutions.Hitler and his Nazi party is a classic example.
As of now, you represent my Constituency in Parliament.When hundreds of innocent Muslims were burnt alive and gang-raped in our streets, you declared that it was the ISI that was responsible for setting the S6 coach on fire !Have you ever condemned the brutality and the inhumanity taking place in your own Constituency ?When you speak of "justice", can you echo and re-echo the words ofyour mentor (the former PM), to your protégé here (the Chief Minister of this land dedicated to Satyagraha and Ahimsa) that he should be following "Rajdharma" ?How about raising your voice for victims of the Gujarat Carnage ?
Today in your Constituency, if one isa Muslim, one cannot buy or own a shop.Besides, in many areas, Christians too are treated as second-class citizens.
Some housing societies have very clearly stated in their byelaws that Muslims would not be allowed to stay in that society.The irony is, we have the byelaws ofone society which clearly state that "Muslims and Sindhis" will not be permitted to live in that housing society. So why don'tyou try buyinga house in that society ?
Well....Well....Mr. Advani, this is your Constituency !Your goons came for the Muslims first, then for the Christians....It is only a matter of time before they come for the "Sindhis" !
It is definitely not too late Mr. Advani....you can still show Indiaand the world that you still cherish the values that were imparted to youthrough a Christian education : of tolerance, compassion, sense of justice and fair play, of equality, of respect for all religious, of not allowing people to take law and order into their own hands....and hopefully show your secular face.
You have a little over five years to prove it.And if the fascists of the country allow you or me to still be around in 2014, you may still have a chance to then aspire to be Prime Minister.Until then, just forget it .....
Well !Well....!Mr. Advani !
(* Fr. Cedric Prakash sj is the Director of "Prashant", the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)
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