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Red Herring

Ever wondered about the potentially greatest killer of humans all over the world, and more pertinently so in India? Next to the life threatening diseases – now including the Covid pandemic – which claim the maximum number of lives all over the world, it is surely the natural disasters in the form of devastating floods and major earthquakes. What next! Come to think of it, it is those killed in road accidents where India has reasons to boast of world leadership. However, courtesy Covid, the casualties on this latter count have come down significantly.

How about those losing their lives to terrorist activities? Quite a few no doubt, but surprisingly far fewer than those being consumed as victims for reasons described above, and still fewer than in reprisal attacks as part of counter-terrorism offensive by the govt/security forces.

While it is absolutely necessary and urgent to put in place measures to ensure minimum loss of lives on account of the factors enunciated above, what is worrisome is the disconcerting realisation that vast resources are being frittered away and the full might of the state brought to bear upon dealing with issues surrounding the scourge of what is passed for “threat to the national security” involving voices of dissent being raised from certain sections of the society. Leave alone Kashmir where heavy handedness of the State has been an ubiquitous and permanent feature for the past 32 years and which is unmistakably evident even now despite the country finding itself in the midst of an acute crisis on a multiple counts: the Covid pandemic, the economic meltdown, the serious job crisis and the Chinese ingress into Ladakh besides many more. Sadly, no worthwhile/comparable effort is being spared to highlight and address the massive loss of life and property on account of these and other factors mentioned above.

This lopsided emphasis on issues related to ‘internal strife’ and arising from what are actually genuine grievances of the masses and in other cases being expressed through popular resistance whose genesis is rooted in history, are being tow-towed as the main challenge to the coutry. The reasons for this obsession with ‘internal security’ are fairly simple to understand: it delivers, and delivers in a big way, espectially at the hustings (recall Gujarat-2002 and Muzaffarpur-2013)! Ditto with many more similar acts of deceit involving the recent special court judgement giving a clean chit to the 32 criminals involved in the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid, and earlier a similar judgement by the apex court that had paved the way for laying the foundation stone of the Ram temple on Aug. 5th. 2020.

A recourse to such tactics has been a time tested ploy, especially in the hands of the cabal of scheming politicians who are calling the shots in the country over the past six years. The idea has simply been to invent an enemy and present it as the greatest threat to the nation and rally the whole country behind to justify their efforts to go after this ‘perceived enemy’ by seeking to isolate, persecute and finally to eliminate him in one fell swoop. A typical case of a red herring, and thus to achieve the impossible: to fool ALL the people of this country ALL the time – a feat that is possible only in INDIA!

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by M A Sofi

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