Intolerant acts

Second Edit

The violent and intolerant faces of two Hindutva organisations were on view last week when two media houses were attacked in Delhi and Kolhapur. The attack in Delhi was on the offices of a TV channel which had aired a programme showing the involvement of at least one senior RSS leader in a conspiracy to attack Muslim places of worship. The vandalism was openly resorted to by RSS supporters. In Kolhapur a Kannada activist was targeted by Shiv Sena hoodlums when he was taking part in a discussion on the Belgaum issue in a Marathi channel. The offices of the channel were also vandalised. Attacks on the media have become more frequent and Hindutva bodies of different hues have had a major role in them.

The RSS and the BJP have sought to play down the attack in Delhi and even tried to indirectly justify it, claiming that the report put out by the channel was wrong. Even when the violent scenes of vandalism were being shown on TV, one RSS leader described the damage as ‘small.’ When a report is wrong, the response to it should not be with muscle power, arms and intimidation. Ironically, the channel was not even unsympathetic to the Hindutva body. Therefore its expose, based on a sting operation, which clearly pointed to the role of the RSS leader in the Mecca masjid blast two years ago, carried authenticity. The RSS had recently claimed that it would not protect any of its activists found to be involved in terrorist activities. Many recent disclosures had pointed to the spread of Hindu terrorism and the association of RSS supporters with it. The Headlines Today report even claimed that there was a conspiracy two years ago to assassinate vice-president Hamid Ansari. What the attack shows is that the RSS’ claims of innocence are not in good faith and that its men are ready to physically deal with any criticism or investigation of its activities.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has pointed out that there have been 11 cases of attacks on journalists and media houses in the country this year. Freedom of expression is the life breath of democracy. Hindutva bodies have shown time and again that they do not respect free speech. Unfortunately they don’t realise that violent responses as reprisals are only counter-productive.

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