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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

intolerance ! ~ not a whimper when Kerala transfers Police Officer !!


Intolerance and conspiracy theories have haunted the margins of France’s ‘‘yellow vest’’ movement since the first protests over fuel taxes roused the discontented middle of French society. The men and women in safety vests blocking traffic and intimidating shoppers on the Champs-Elysees vent a range of grievances against the government.  But over 11 weeks of protests, views from the fringes have bubbled through the diffuse and leaderless movement and have been amplified: anti-Semitic rants about banking, a Holocaust survivor harassed on the subway, assaults on journalists, and claims the government concocted terrorist attacks or deadly accidents to divert attention from the demonstrations.  There has been scattered violence, with clashes between protestors and police, and the authorities worry that the extremists have taken over the center of the movement.

Intolerance ! ~   what or how would people react !!
The ancient "Babylonian" story (539 BC) depicts the conflict between Prince Belshazzar of Babylon and Cyrus the Great of Persia. The fall of Babylon is a result of intolerance arising from a conflict between devotees of two rival Babylonian gods—Bel-Marduk and Ishtar. 

Intolerance painting by François Dubois - Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts., Public Domain,

Heard of  St. Bartholomew's Day massacre -  in 1572, was a targeted group of assassinations and a wave of Catholic mob violence, directed against the Huguenots (French Calvinist Protestants) during the French Wars of Religion. Traditionally believed to have been instigated by Queen Catherine de' Medici, the mother of King Charles IX, the massacre took place a few days after the wedding day (18 August) of the king's sister Margaret to the Protestant Henry III of Navarre (the future Henry IV of France). Many of the most wealthy and prominent Huguenots had gathered in largely Catholic Paris to attend the wedding. The massacre began in the night of 23–24 August 1572 (the eve of the feast of Bartholomew the Apostle), two days after the attempted assassination of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, the military and political leader of the Huguenots. The king ordered the killing of a group of Huguenot leaders, including Coligny, and the slaughter spread throughout Paris. Lasting several weeks, the massacre expanded outward to other urban centres and the countryside. Modern estimates for the number of dead across France vary widely, from 5,000 to 30,000.

People would conveniently not speak of such ‘intolerance;  Intolerance is a 1916 epic silent film directed by D. W. Griffith.  Regarded as one of the great masterpieces of the silent era, the three-and-a-half-hour epic intercuts four parallel storylines, each separated by several centuries: (1) a contemporary melodrama of crime and redemption, (2) a Judean story: Christ's mission and death, (3) a French story: the events surrounding the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572, and (4) a Babylonian story: the fall of the Babylonian Empire to Persia in 539 BC.

Intolerance (noun) would mean : unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one's own.

To us, it is nothing new ~ the  intolerance debate heightened in 2015, when over 50 authors and artists returned government awards, saying not enough was being done to control intolerance.  Often some fringe actors who have lost their market, would criticize the Govt at the centre blaming them for all the woes (including their films not running enough days!) – the actor who thinks himself to be an intellectual would reel out a long sentence dotted by commas, stating that the Centre is intolerance.   The tolerance-intolerance debate in India has often trudged such depths, with multiple protests, some of them against protestors of a different hue.

While lot of hue and cry would be aimed at the Centre, ruling BJP, everyone of them including the actors would remain silent, if it happen in a State not ruled by BJP – selective memory, selective scathing criticism.  Please tell honestly, whether you have read or seen this newsitem in many main media and whether any actor voiced anything against Kerala Govt (I don’t expect though !) .. .. what would you want the Police to do, when there is news on a criminal hiding ? – if you ever thought searching the premises for arresting a criminal, sorry ! – your thinking is flawed.  For, before, you need to ask and find out, where it happened, who is the victim, who is the perpetrator and in which place it occurred .. .. remain mum, if it is Kerala and done with the support of Red Kerala Government !

A young woman  IPS officer has been moved out summarily  from the post of deputy commissioner in Kerala  reviving to commoners  the question of political interference in police administration in the state.

Chaitra Teresa John was shifted within hours after she raided the office of the Thiruvananthapuram district committee of the CPM. The decision to transfer her was apparently taken by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, reports the Telegraph.  Teresa John had gone to the party office after she gathered information that some workers belonging to the CPM youth wing DYFI, wanted in connection with an attack on the local Medical College police station, were present there.

The youths had apparently tried last week to forcibly free from the police station two DYFI activists arrested in a case registered under the Pocso Act. The officer could not find any accused in the party office. The CPM took serious offence of her action and demanded her removal. “Raiding the party office was not a right action. The officer could not even find an accused inside the party office. I have got complaints against the police, after which I also asked the DGP to probe the action,” Vijayan told the Assembly on Monday. The Opposition did not pursue the issue further in the House.  This is not the first time that workers of ruling parties have tried to browbeat the police force. It is a common practice in Kerala, irrespective of whether the Left Front or the Congress-led United Democratic Front is in power. Only, the tendency of ruling party workers meddling in the working of the police force is more evident during the Left rule.

Allegations that district and even local party offices control the police are common whenever the CPM had come to power. This is more rampant in party strongholds such as Kannur. The current state secretary of the CPM, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, had once threatened to turn police stations into bomb-making units.  The action against an officer who was doing her duty has come at a time the police force under Vijayan has been accused of “inaction” in a number of cases. This is the one reason that has been cited by the district CPM secretary while demanding removal of the police officer for “demeaning the party”.  Teresa John had booked leaders of the CPM-backed union of government employees for vandalising an SBI office opposite the state secretariat during the recent Bharat bandh.  This was not to the liking of the state CPM leadership.

The action against the officer certainly has not gone down well with the public’ but there have been no cries of intolerance, award-wapsi, nay not even any mention in Kerala media ! – that is secularism and press in India. Shame !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th Jan 2019.



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