Need for calm

The incident of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib has rightly been widely condemned.

harinder@tribunemail.com

The incident of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib has rightly been widely condemned. There is no doubt that what happened in Faridkot district has struck a raw nerve among the people of Punjab. A large number of protesters gathered near the village and their confrontation with the police led to violence that has left many people dead and injured. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s appeal for restraint and calm needs to be heeded by all.

The tearing up of pages of the holy book, as has reportedly been done, followed by putting up of an inflammatory poster, points towards a premeditated endeavour to poison the atmosphere of peace and amity in the state.  The police should concentrate its resources at finding the perpetrators of this sacrilegious act and bring them to book. Any such action triggers a predictable response, including demonstrations, for which the police should have been prepared. Allowing the situation to escalate to a level where there is a violent confrontation between the police personnel and the protesters earns the former no credit. The Shiromani Akali Dal should rush its ministers and legislators to interact with the people of the area and appeal for forbearance. The tense situation calls for political handling, rather than police action.  Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who holds the Home portfolio, should take personal charge of the situation. Those who are trying to exploit this situation should be thwarted and dealt with promptly. 

The unhappy chapter of communalism and its attendant horrors has been closed in Punjab. No one should be allowed to revisit that again. Even as the government takes administrative action to control the law and order situation, it also needs to address itself to the rising tide of intolerance, to which Punjab is certainly not immune. Bridges need to be built between communities that are losing trust in each other. In the meantime, security must be provided to all religious places to prevent such incidents from taking place. 

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