Monday, July 5, 2010

JULY 5 2010

An Eye for and Eye will make the Whole World Blind

We condemn the brutal and intolerant chopping off the hand of Professor TJ Joseph Moolvattupuzha Ernakulam in Kerala by some intolerant and violent fanatics. Though the identity of the assail ants is still under investigation, media reports suggest that the Professor was attacked by three persons armed with swords---who police reports say belong tot the Popular Front. It is alleged that he was made to suffer this fate because he allegedly framed a question paper in March 2010 that insulted the Prophet of Islam. He was a Lecturer in the church run college Newman College in Thodupuzha in Idukki district. The police and government should ensure that those who are guilty are the ones punished.

If the questions he had written in the paper were either inflammatory or defamatory there are surely better, more sane and democratic means to deal with them?

Are we so fickle in our convictions and in our faith that we cannot tolerate discussion and debate? IF the words or thoughts or sentiments of anyone hurt us, do we have the right to resort to barbaric and unlawful means of redressal? If and only if any form of hate speech is directed at what we hold dear, what is the punitive remedy in a civilized society?

Outfits like the PDP and NDF in Kerala have been allowed to carry out a brand of intolerant acts unchecked. This is dangerous to the syncretic traditions of Kerala and the secular traditions of the country as a whole.

Teesta Setalvad
Citizens for Justice and Peace Mumbai