Freedom of Expression is dead in India!
Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray died on Saturday 17 October and Mumbai – the city that never sleeps shut down within hours. Cabs, auto rickshaws, private vehicles disappeared from the roads, shops down the shutters, movies halls cancelled the shows scheduled on Saturday evening and Sunday. Even ATM machines were shut down and so was the cable TV except news channels. Entire city was under forced house arrest. Police released advisories asking people to stay at homes as if we were in a war!
What for? Foe the death of an 86 year old man who dies of natural causes?
Somebody said it was because people respected the man. No it wasn’t the respect, it was fear. Fear of the hooliganism that has come to be a hallmark of the man and Shiv Sena.
And then this happened – a young woman posted on her Facebook wall venting her frustration for shutting down a megacity over the death of a man and the Police arrested her! Not just her but also another friend of hers who “liked” the post! Liked! Seriously? Are we living in a fucking fascist dictatorship? That’s not all, a mob of Shiv Sainiks – members of Shiv Sena who proudly call themselves soldiers – attacked and ransacked a hospital run by the girl’s uncle! Un-fucking-believable! No arrests have been made for the obvious act of hooliganism and breaking the law but the two girls have been arrested for “causing communal tensions” and “hurting religious sentiments”!
I will make my views clear on Bal Thackeray. I agree with the girl. It is outrageous to bring a city to standstill over a man’s death. And it’s even more outrageous to say it was because people respected him! People feared him. People feared Bal Thackeray and the goons of Shiv Sena. Who knows whose shop/house/car might be the next to be burnt down by the mindless mob of Shiv Sainiks.
If people loved Bal Thackeray so much, why his party has not managed to get back to power after 1999? His greatest achievement? Renaming the city to Mumbai from Bombay! As if that makes an iota of difference in the lives of anybody!
This episode over an FB post demonstrate exactly why people fear and hate Shiv Sena. Zero tolerance for any criticism! As this article demonstrates this politics of hate has been practiced so successfully by them that they don’t even need to actually use it anymore. People just fear. And they call it power.
So long Freedom of Expression!