Murder in Udaipur

Religious, political leadership must work for peace

Murder in Udaipur

File photo

The gruesome killing of an Udaipur man, Kanhaiya Lal Teli, by Islamist extremists for allegedly supporting blasphemy against their faith deserves the most unequivocal, strongest possible condemnation. Teli, a tailor by profession, was brutally killed in his shop by two men posing as customers on Tuesday evening. He was murdered less than three weeks after he had been arrested over the allegation that he had supported and propagated former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s comments on Islam and the Prophet. The killers — who also issued death threats to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nupur — have been arrested and the Central Government has handed over the probe into the case to the National Investigation Agency.

The murder and its aftermath, with curfew being imposed in Udaipur after protests and arson, must be met with a responsible, restrained response from the political and religious leadership. Since the controversy over Nupur’s comments began a month ago, several states have witnessed protests and violence, resulting in a number of fatalities and damage to public and private property. It is incumbent on religious leaders to emphatically denounce violence in the name of religion and God; and, for the sake of peace and harmony, political leaders must desist from making provocative, divisive statements and prodding their followers towards violence. The investigation into Teli’s murder must be completed at the earliest and the killers — as also those who hatched the conspiracy and indoctrinated the two — must be brought to book.

India is an amazingly diverse country with different beliefs, customs and practices, which people cherish; however, it’s time the people realised a fundamental, universal truth: human beings have rights, feelings and ideas do not. Modern, tolerant democracies are founded on the principle that even the most loathsome ideas can be expressed as long as they are focused on ideologies or belief systems rather than individuals. The sanctity of human life is paramount; sentiments can never be accorded more importance than it. This is a priceless lesson, and the earlier the people of India learn it, the better it would be for the peace and progress of its citizens.

Tribune Shorts


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