I often think that this was to be expected. After all, Modi has never hid from the public his allegiance to the divisive RSS and to the idea of Hindutva. The leopard, as they say, doesn't change its spots, and Modi has never seemed to even try changing his spots!
What was surprising was to read an opinion piece that simply went for the jugular. But then the author, Julio Ribeiro, too hasn't changed his spots. A former pull-no-punches high ranking, and highly decorated, police officer, stays on character when he writes:
Today, in my 86th year, I feel threatened, not wanted, reduced to a stranger in my own country. The same category of citizens who had put their trust in me to rescue them from a force they could not comprehend have now come out of the woodwork to condemn me for practising a religion that is different from theirs. I am not an Indian anymore, at least in the eyes of the proponents of the Hindu Rashtra.That ought to hurt the RSS fanatics; but then they don't care. After all, if they cared, they would not be fanatics, right?
Is it coincidence or a well-thought-out plan that the systematic targeting of a small and peaceful community should begin only after the BJP government of Narendra Modi came to power last May?Of course it is no coincidence.
It is tragic that these extremists have been emboldened beyond permissible limits by an atmosphere of hate and distrust. The Christian population, a mere 2 per cent of the total populace, has been subjected to a series of well-directed body blows. If these extremists later turn their attention to Muslims, which seems to be their goal, they will invite consequences that this writer dreads to imagine.That atmosphere of hate and distrust that has been created since last May won't easily go away. A tragedy, indeed! It didn't take much time to destroy even the little bit of trust that was built slowly over the years.
In another interview, Ribeiro says:
People need to know that attempts to make India a saffron Pakistan will not work and should not be encouraged. India is where people from different religions, communities live. We are not Pakistan but we can get there if certain people and their actions are not opposed. I may be over reacting but I feel it is my responsibility to oppose this openly.As one who has been observing the trends from the outside, I don't see anything in what Ribeiro says to think he is over-reacting.
It is a shame that India's politics have gone this route. And an awful tragedy!