March 16, 2008

Perpetually on a Short Fuse

The Supreme Court of India has called for an end to the growing tendency to curb freedom of speech, ostensibly to avoid hurting the sentiments of one group or another. No, my post On Moses and Aurangazeb yesterday had nothing to do with the justices' admonishment, however much I'd have liked it to be so. Unless, of course, there's reason to believe that the arrow of time was somehow reversed during the last few days!

While upholding a temporary shut down of slaughter houses in Ahmedabad during the Jain festival Paryushan in Hinsa Virodhak Sangh v. Mirzapur Moti Kuresh Jamat & Ors, Justices H. K. Sema & Markandey Katju wrote (para 66):

These days unfortunately some people seem to be perpetually on a short fuse, and are willing to protest often violently, about anything under the sun on the ground that a book or painting or film etc. has hurt the sentiments of their community. These are dangerous tendencies and must be curbed with an iron hand. We are one nation and must respect each other and should have tolerance.

Well, it's deplorable that "some people seem to be perpetually on a short fuse", but what if the state itself chose to intervene "with an iron hand" on their behalf?

If the arrow of time were reversed during the last few days, would the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, Mr. M. Karunanidhi, have been cited contempt of court — again?

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