Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Violent protests

India witnesses protests at various times at different places. Some of them are violent and result in death and injury to people and damage to property. In a democracy people have a right to protest peacefully. There is no right to cause hardships and damage property.

On 30/11/2006 Deccan Queen was burnt. One local train was burnt. Many buses were damaged. The protests in Maharashtra were against the desecration of a statue of Ambedkar in Kanpur.

Riots can be contained soon if the police are impartial and are allowed to do their job. Sometimes police take sides. Sometimes there is political interference. A few times police do their job there are inquiry commissions. Competent and dutiful persons are punished with suspension and transfer.

Those who stop, burn, destroy and damage trains, buses, cars, trucks and other vehicles must be made to pay for the loss they cause. The cost of damage must include the cost of the vehicle and loss caused due to inability to work. Those who destroy and loot houses, shops etc must pay for their acts. Those who commit murder must be put to death.

Sometimes protests take the form of riots. Rarely a person is punished for the crimes committed during riots. 1984 Delhi riots, 1992-93 Bombay riots and 2002 Gujarat riots are examples of these.

Bandhs are imposed on people. After Bombay High Court fined Shiv Sena and BJP Rs.20 lakhs each they have officially not called any bandh. When Meenatai Thackeray’s statue was desecrated on 9/7/2006 there was unofficial bandh from Shiv Sena.

A beginning must be made. Guilty must be punished.

Updated: July 12, 2014 — 4:49 pm

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