Dear Karni Terrorists,
I was one of the first journalists to watch Padmaavat (then called Padmavati) but I refrained from writing about it because I thought this would blow over. Once Karni Sena and others who have been protesting get a chance to watch this movie, then their misplaced apprehensions would be removed.
How wrong I was.
Instead of those imagined grievances about ‘distortion of history’ long away, things have only taken a turn for the worse. And Wednesday was the final straw. The attack on the school bus of GD Goenka School is that thin red line that got crossed.
You don’t attack kids. Period. No matter what the provocation is. No cause is great enough to justify an attack on our children.
But it hit me when my own five-year- old daughter called me up last evening and asked “Baba why are they beating up those children?” I had no answer. That’s when I realised kids across India would have watched this clip. There’s no stopping that in this day and age of Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
For me, there’s no difference between the Karni Sena and the Lashkar-e-Taiba. No difference between Lokendra Kalvi and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. They are both terrorists. Both are sides of the same ugly coin.
And when I said this to a member of the Karni Sena on FaceOff last night, he took grave offence and walked out of the show.
But I have no qualms in reiterating this. The Karni Sena are not just a bunch of goons, they are TERRORISTS.
Here’s the definition of terrorist according to the US State Department. Terrorism is defined in Title 22 Chapter 38 of the US Code as "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.”
Wednesday’s violence against kids in Gurugram was pre-meditated, it had a clear, ulterior political motive, and it targeted innocent non-combatants. If this is not terrorism, then I don’t know what is.
I am glad that sensible people, even in Bollywood are finally calling these loonies, terrorists. Take a look at Farhan Akhtar’s tweet.
Attacking a school bus is not an agitation. It is terrorism. The people who did it are terrorists. Please refer to them as such. — Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) January 25, 2018
An old Editor of mine used to say “In India, riots can never happen if the state does not want it to happen. I am convinced that the violence we have seen in the last few days in Rajasthan, Haryana and Gujarat are not because those governments are incompetent or because the police forces in those states are inept. It is because Messers Vasundhara Raje, Manohar Lal Khattar and Vijay Rupani see political benefit in allowing this violence to fester. Are narrow votebanks more important than our children?
Today, Minister of State (MoS) in the External Affairs Ministry, and a former Army Chief General VK Singh said state governments should negotiate with the Karni Sena. I want to ask the General, will the Indian Army negotiate with the Lashka-e-Taiba? Or the Jaish-e-Muhammad? As a former Chief of Army Staff it is ridiculous that he even entertains this idea of negotiating with lumpens.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister made an impassioned sales pitch for India at Davos. He ended his speech by saying “Agar aap prosperity ke saath peace chahte hain, toh Bharat aayein (If you want peace along with prosperity, then come to India.).”
10 ASEAN heads of state are in India right now. Imagine what they would have watched on their televisions last night and what they would have read in the newspapers this morning.
Is this the #NewIndia we want to showcase to them, and to the rest of the world? India’s moment of truth is here.
Father of a 5-year-old