Tag: Riots

Riots in England

The riots that began in London and spread to other cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Salford and Wolverhampton have exposed the ugly side of England. There was arson, loot, robbery and vandalism. Masked marauders rampaged. Houses, shops and vehicles were set ablaze. There was looting of shops, not all by criminal gangs. Some parents sat in cars outside the shops and sent their sons to loot. Police were attacked. Firemen who went to douse fires were attacked. In London more than 560 were arrested and there was no place in prisons. England had not seen anything like this for many decades.

Various reasons are given. Some say poverty, unemployment and economic deprivation are reasons for the looting and arson. Some blame cut in welfare measures and closing of youth centres. Unemployment benefit was cut and simmering discontent has come to the surface. Some say reduction in police force left it unprepared to face the rioters.

William Dalrymple said England has a rich tradition of rioting and thuggery. In the 16th century a French ambassador had complained of riots, extortion and robbery. England used to send its criminals to India. Now there is no empire and criminals remain in the country.

I do not know how many criminals England sent to India. England sent most of its criminals to Australia. Before that it sent its criminals to America. The criminals who landed in Australia in 1788 became its founders. In India the British sent long term prisoners to Andaman. England has Pitcairn Islands and it can send its prisoners there.

UK’s PM David Cameron and London’s Mayor Boris Johnson had to cut short their holidays and return to London. Cameron spoke of tough action against rioters. He attributed looting by young boys to lack of proper parenting and proper upbringing. He said those who are old enough to commit crime are old enough to face action. Boris Johnson was heckled. Someone said “You are too late.” Someone asked “Where were you?”

There is criticism of soft policing. There is demand for using water cannons, cage charges, tear gas shells, rubber bullets and tasers. Cameron has allowed use of rubber bullets. Curfew should have been imposed in London during the first night of riots. It is not imposed anywhere and criminals have a free run. Police have released photos of criminals and asked people to identify them.

Someone wanted the government to focus on London instead of bombing Libya. Someone wanted troops in Afghanistan and Libya recalled and blamed spending of money on useless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The criminals who looted used social media sites such as Facebook and Blackberry Messenger and there is a demand to ban them. However banning something because criminals used them is unreasonable. Those who used them should be caught and punished. Some used social media sites to gather and clean the city.

London is host to Olympics 2012. There is enough time for London to beef up its security. However the riots have called into question the wisdom of hosting sporting events that cost billions while ignoring a large section of people.

Colours of terror

Chidambaram spoke of saffron terror. Some joined issue by saying terror has no colour.

However one describes terror by a particular group there are people who object to the nomenclature. Some speak of Jehadi/Islamic/Islamist terror. Some speak of Hindu/ Hindutva/ Saffron terror. Some speak of Maoist/Naxal/Red terror. There was Khalistani terror. There is terror in Kashmir and North-East India. There is Marathi terror which has forced multiplex owners to show Marathi films at prime time at reduced rates.

Some want saffron terror to be ignored because it is on a small scale and done by amateurs. They show their true colours. Some say saffron is a colour of valour and it is on national flag. They do not mention that some people arrested for terrorist acts wore saffron.

Someone has gone to court and filed a defamation case against Chidambaram for the use of the phrase saffron terror. Living persons are defamed. It is strange that a colour can be defamed and someone can file a defamation case on behalf of the colour.

For the victims of terror it does not matter who is the perpetrator of crime. Sikhs were victims of terror in 1984 in Delhi. Muslims were victims of terror in 2002 in Gujarat. Christians were victims of terror in 2008 in Orissa and Karnataka. The perpetrators were Hindus. Sikh terrorists who wanted Khalistan killed many Hindus and Sikhs and sometimes people of other religions. Hindu terrorists belonging to ULFA have killed many Hindus. In Kashmir Muslim terrorists have killed Hindus and Muslims.

Sometimes victims of terror are punished and criminals go scot-free. T. J. Joseph a victim of terror. Who had forgiven the criminals who had cut off his hand is sacked by his college. Kothamangalam diocese’s decision is outrageous. Fr. Thomas Malekudy, manager of Newman College where T. J. Joseph served, has said “The management was forced to dismiss him because he failed to withdraw the question paper, which insulted the Prophet. It is up to the Muslim community to forgive Joseph for his crime. If the Muslim community exonerates him, we will think about taking him back. He is also free to move the court.”

Sr. Stella, sister of T. J. Joseph, has said T. J. Joseph has apologised many times. T. J. Joseph must move court. The basis for sacking was unjustified. What does Fr. Thomas Malekudy mean by Muslim community? Is it Popular Front of India? Newman College is a Catholic institute. T. J. Joseph did not commit any crime that is punishable under Canon Law. Is Newman College governed by Shariat? Why is the bishop of Kothamangalam quiet? Why has he not told the college management to revoke the dismissal? Why is the Major Archbishop of Ernakulam Angamaly quiet? Fr. Thomas Malekudy is like Sr. Sebastina who sacked Ruchika Girhotra, a victim of molestation. Education Minister of Kerala, a CPI M led government has condemned the decision to sack T. J. Joseph. Fr. Thomas Malekudy must apologise to T. J. Joseph and revoke the dismissal.

BJP and Shiv Sena wanted tough line against terror and Afzal Guru hanged. Nitin Gadkari had asked why there is delay in hanging Afzal Guru, is he a son-in-law of Congress? UPA government recommended rejection of Afzal Guru’s mercy petition over two months back. Pratibha Patil has not rejected of Afzal Guru’s mercy petition. Why are BJP and Shiv Sena quiet? Is Shiv Sena quiet because Pratibha Patil is a Marathi Manoos?

Riots in Punjab

In Vienna, on 24/5/2009, some Sikhs entered a place of prayer and attacked some people, which resulted in death and injury. Whether the place was a gurudwara or temple or something else is a matter of dispute. Whether the people attacked were Sikhs is also a matter of dispute. Some call them Ravidasis and say they are not Sikhs.

The attack was a crime. The attackers should be tried for murder and hanged. Austria should reinstate death penalty.

That day and next day there was violence in Punjab. Trains, buses and cars were burnt. Many buildings were burnt. Many passengers were stranded in railway stations and bus stations in Punbaj and outside Punjab. P. Chidambaram said that in some places curfew was imposed and not enforced as he could see people moving around and it had to enforced.

Riots need to be put down with a firm hand. Nobody has the right to damage public or private property and stop people from travelling. Police persons should be allowed to do their duty. Many times political interference renders police force ineffective. Sometimes even police persons, vehicles and stations are attacked. One police officer who ordered firing to quell a riot had to appear before an enquiry commission. Later he was tried in court and awarded life imprisonment. If he had not fired he and other people might have been killed or wounded and riots could have spread. In Bhiwandi police were soft and two of them were burnt. Those who do their duty should not be punished. In Rome city officials who did not quell riots had to face punishment which could have been death penalty. If there was too much trouble in any city it was flattered. Those who rioted in Punjab need to be punished. Being soft on rioters saying they did not attack other people but burnt vehicles is not acceptable.