On 25th November, 1949, in his last speech to Constituent Assembly, Dr. Ambedkar said, “We must make our political democracy a social democracy as well. Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy. What does social democracy means? It means a way of life which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life. Those principles of liberty, equality and fraternity are not to be treated as separate items in a trinity. They form a union of trinity in the sense that to divorce one from the other is to defeat the very purpose of democracy.”
While, adopting the Constitution we resolved to secure every Indian citizen Justice, Liberty and Equality and to promote amongst them all Fraternity that assures dignity of individual. To take it further we made Right to Equality, Prohibition of Discrimination on grounds of Religion, Race, Caste, etc., Abolition of Untouchability and Protection of Life as Fundamental Rights. In Directive Principles it is provided that State shall strive to promote welfare of the people by securing and protecting the social order, the State needs to secure equal justice by suitable Legislation. It is fundamental duty of every citizen to promote harmony and spirit of common brotherhood amongst fellow Indians.
Dr. Ambedkar in his speech of 25th November had warned us in following words, “On the 26th of January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril.”
Recent incident of a young boy “Asif” being beaten mercilessly for entering a religious place to drink water has disturbed the conscious of nation, what the more disturbing was shameless attitude of the perpetrators of this assault of video recording of their heinous crime with sense of pride. This reminds me incident of brutal murder of Bengali Muslim labourer in Rajasthan, cold blooded murder of Techie Mohsin Shaikh at Pune, murder of a 15 years old boy Junaid Khan in Train, the list is long and unending with the cases of Tabrez Ansari, Hafiz Haldar and many more Muslims who have being victimise for being Muslims and no other reason.
A report recently published has shown that in India’s Cosmopolitan Cities the Muslims and Dalits are refused houses either on ownership or rent and despite of having means they are forced to stay in the localities where their counterparts of other religion would not like to stay. Resultantly, there is rise of Muslim Ghettos throughout the country.
During the initial days of Corona Pandemic a well planned narrative was build around Muslims alleging that they are spreading the disease and various videos were in circulation on social media wherein the Muslims vendors were not permitted to sell vegetables and fruits in other localities.
The above facts are sufficient to prove that we are trying to create a new class of untouchables in the name of religion. The Muslims are being targeted only because of their religion, they are not considered as equals and they are discriminated socially. Publicly they are abused and their religion insulted, even, their religious figures are not spared.
If, in a constitutional democracy someone is being targeted and victimise on the basis of religion, he needs to be protected on the basis of religion alone. Acting on this principle, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was brought into force in order to protect the vulnerable part of society from indignities, humiliations and harassments for being member of SC and ST.
The Atrocities Act made punishable the action of institution of false cases, giving of false information against SC and ST, intentional insults and intimidations with intent to humiliate, abusing by caste name, insult to their sacred symbols, promotion of feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will against them, disrespect to any late person held in high esteem by them, forcing them to leave their houses, obstructing them from using common resources, public places or practising any profession, imposing social or economic boycott.
In this decade, the nation has witnessed rise of all the above atrocities against the Muslims for the only reason of them being Muslims, therefore, to maintain the constitutional values and to extend protection of Constitution, now it has become necessary to include ‘Muslims’ alongwith the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the protective fold of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 before its too late.
Though, we hold the colonial rule responsible for our many problems but surprisingly the Queen had issued a Proclamation in 1858, “None in India should be any way favoured, nor molested or disquieted by reason of their religious faith or observances, but that all shall alike enjoy the equal and impartial protection of law”.
The present Government has entered by taking oath of Constitution, it can’t be equated with the colonial rulers but it is expected from it to perform better. It is expected from the constitutional and democratic Government to protect rights of each citizen.
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