A measured response to Pulwama is the need of the hour

Many a conflagration in India could have been avoided if elected leaders had chosen not to take sides

  • Published 21.02.19, 8:36 AM
  • Updated 21.02.19, 8:36 AM
  • a min read
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The measured response of the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, is an example of a politician choosing to be impartial during a distinctly divisive hour. PTI

Mischief is, more often than not, fanned by partisan winds. Shockingly, in what the prime minister insists is a different kind of India, even holders of constitutional positions seem to be indifferent to the need for airing tempered views. The attack on Indian soldiers in Pulwama has been followed by rage and, on occasions, aggression allegedly directed at Kashmiri citizens. The bullies — they remain at large in most places — may have reasons to be pleased with the Meghalaya governor, who tweeted a suggestion by a former army man to boycott “everything that is Kashmiri”. Endorsement of such polarizing views from a constitutional authority is perhaps one of the ciphers of the New India that the prime minister gloats about periodically. Meanwhile, the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party has gone about his task of heating the pot further, reiterating the BJP’s commitment to prevent Assam from turning into restive Kashmir.

Hearteningly, there are exceptions to the new rules that are being set by the present dispensation. The measured response of the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, is an example of a politician choosing to be impartial during a distinctly divisive hour. In a strict missive to the police, Ms Banerjee directed the upholders of law to act firmly and fairly while dealing with attempts on the part of miscreants to create trouble. The inference is clear. Ms Banerjee and her administration appear serious about rooting out the tension irrespective of who the trouble-makers are. Ms Banerjee’s concerns are not unfounded. There is evidence to suggest that ever since the attack in Pulwama took place, the collective outrage has been used by vested interests on both sides of the spectrum to settle scores. A number of civilians have been harassed by self-appointed guardians of a shrill nationalism for asking searching questions on social media. It is equally true that some of the posts have also been insensitive, leading to altercations in Calcutta as well as in the districts. Ms Banerjee’s decision to ask her administration to act against both kinds of transgression is refreshing because partial, motivated interventions have become synonymous with modern politics. Indeed, many a conflagration in India, including the one in Gujarat, could have been avoided if elected leaders had chosen not to take sides.

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