Bhushan attack the latest example of intolerant India

What is worrying is that the attack on Bhushan is the latest in a string of events that show the rise of an increasingly intolerant fringe of society who resort to violence as a first reaction and not as a last resort.

FP Staff October 13, 2011 13:49:18 IST
Bhushan attack the latest example of intolerant India

Senior advocate and civil rights activist Prashant Bhushan was beaten up in front of television cameras on 12 October by two youth who took objection to comments Bhushan had made in relation to conducting a referendum in Jammu and Kashmir. The attackers claimed to be from the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena and declared their pride for what they had done across various forms of social media with the message, "If you try to split my nation I will break your head".

Bhushan attack the latest example of intolerant India

A shoe hurled by journalist Jarnail Singh about to strike Chidambaram - Reuters

The attack has been widely condemned and the perpetrators are now in police custody. But what is worrying is that this attack is the latest in a string of events that show the rise of an increasingly intolerant fringe of society who resort to violence as a first reaction and not as a last resort. In 2007, members of the Ram Sene vandalized an exhibition of artist M.F. Husain. They shouted slogans against the artist and damaged the frames of two paintings. One of the damaged paintings depicted Emperor Akbar and was priced at Rs 1.5 lakh. The activists shouted slogans like 'Balasaheb (Bal Thackeray) Zindabad', 'Shiv Sena Zindabad' and 'MF Husain Murdabad' and distributed pamphlets which threatened to disrupt any exhibition of Husain in the country.

In 2009 the same group orchestrated an "anti valentines day" protest and said that their activists would target couples found dating on 14 February, Valentine’s Day. Sene leader Muthalik was quoted as saying, "Our activists will go around with a priest, a turmeric stub and a mangalsutra on 14 February. If we come across couples being together in public and expressing their love, we will take them to the nearest temple and conduct their marriage".

April 2009 also saw an outbreak of shoe related violence, as Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and BJP leader L.K. Advani were all targeted by assailants who threw shoes at them.

Other prominent activists like Arundhati Roy and Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have also been the targets of vandalism and violence, perpetrated by people who did not agree with their views.

View a timeline of intolerance in India:

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