Raid on Kerala House absurd

The shrill campaign by Hindutva activists against beef-eating is crossing all reasonable limits under the benign gaze of the Narendra Modi government. The latest instance, that of the Delhi police barging into the national capital’s Kerala House at the behest of the so-called Hindu Sena, takes the cake. In one move, the police have made a mockery of the rule of law in the country. You have an individual complaining to the police that beef is being served in the restaurant within the Kerala House precincts. The police instead of taking the necessary permissions before entering the state government-run premises, barge in and conduct a raid as if Kerala House was up to something seriously criminal. 

While no one faults the police for reacting to the complaint, what has offended the sensibilities of the Kerala government and a large section of people, is the complete idiocy of the force which trampled upon well-established norms to please a fringe right-wing Hindutva-spouting group. No wonder Kerala, almost to the last person, has expressed disgust at the police action. Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi’s defence of his force’s action is completely out of line. Instead of conceding that the action may have been a case of overkill, Bassi has argued that the police viewed it as a law and order situation and acted accordingly. This standard line that the police resort to in such cases has found no takers and Bassi comes across looking silly and incompetent. The complainant, Vishnu Gupta of the Hindu Sena, may have been arrested as an afterthought but it is too little too late. 

In recent months, there has been a spate of incidents across the country over beef and cow-slaughter, fanned to a large extent by the tacit support of the Sangh Parivar-backed Modi government. The multi-day ban on meat-eating during festivals, the lynching of an innocent man in Dadri over suspected beef-consumption and other varied attempts to dictate what people should or should not eat, have led to a dire situation, the likes of which the country has never seen before. While the actions by the various Hindutva groups have given rise to a feeling of intolerance, the deeper damage may be far-reaching. Already vocal sections of the intelligentsia have expressed their discomfiture over the deteriorating sense of tolerance across the country. The police raid on Kerala House could even be viewed as a case of constitutional impropriety – with a centrally-controlled force ignoring Centre-state demarcations that have served well for all these years. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s anger is entirely understandable. He must ensure that those responsible for the grave misjudgement be punished.

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