Why social activists have become so vulnerable in this election season? We spoke to some noted activists in a bid to reach to a possible conclusion behind these attacks.
Ali Asghar, Founder Member and Gen. Secretary at Grass Roots Action & Information Network (GRAIN), Hyderabad
Violence, hooliganism, and disruption of the democratic process is common to all fundamentalist elements in the political sphere. Last evening some goons (a.k.a party workers) from the muslim fundamentalist Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party attacked noted activist S.Q. Masood, working as an observer for the Aam Aadmi Party at Golkonda in the Karwan Assembly Constituency, Hyderabad.
Similarly, three days ago well known activist Shabnam Hashmi and Pratap Singh Negi were attacked by BJP workers in Rae Bareli, UP while distributing leaflets exposing the Gujarat development claims. The workers threatened to rape Ms. Hashmi if she did not relent. In both cases the police refused to register FIRs. These brazen acts of violence by both Hindu and Muslim fundamentalist parties, within the protective umbrella of the police, are horrifying and must be strongly condemned. These parties are breeding an inhumane culture of intolerance in the name of religion and corrupting the law and order system.These incidents provide a glimpse of the hatred, disorder and deteriorated law & order situation that will be the order of the day when these parties come into power.
Ram Puniyani, Social Activist associated with All India Secular Forum
The attack on Shabnam Hashmi, Pratap Singh Negi by BJP goons is reflective of various things. Firstly it shows the intolerant atmosphere created by the BJP propaganda machinery, backed up by RSS workers that those holding different political opinion are looked down upon. The way Giriraj Singh has said that those not voting for Modi will be sent to Pakistan is a one reflection of that. Secondly the state is not very effective in giving protection to the independent secular democratic voices. It also reflects that the communal forces are very desperate and to grab power they will resort to any method, including physical attacks on the opponents. This also shows that by chance if they come to power they will to to any length to suppress the voices of opposition. In a way this attitude is the base on which the authoritarian state and fascist methods base themselves.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat, Social Activist
Social activists are vulnerable because now in the times of all these hypes they are the only people who are able to see beyond the hypes. So they become a kind of threat. Process of communalisation of middle classes is taking place. So, those who are challenging these notions are being considered as an obstacle, whether it is Shabnam Hashmi or any one who speaks against Hindutva which is a common middle class constituency at the moment. They are considered as anti-Indian or anti-national, castists, obstacle in the way of Narendra Modi.