Navjot Singh Sidhu has made another controversial statement. He has said that public hanging should be the punishment for committing sacrilege. Sidhu was addressing a public rally in Malerkotla, Punjab.
Navjot Sidhu said,”Some forces are hatching Conspiracies to disturb the peace of Punjab. I declare that if anyone commits sacrilege anywhere, whether it is of Quran, Bhagwad Geeta or Guru Granth Sahib, we should hang the perpetrator publicly. Such persons should be awarded severest punishment of the constitution.”
In last elections also, the issue of sacrilege had become one of the major poll planks. As elections are approaching, things seem to be headed the same way once again. Such inflammatory statements have been a part of totalitarian ideologies. Laws for severe punishments for blasphemy or sacrilege are common in theocratic states like Pakistan.
Taliban and ISIS openly proclaim death penalty for sacrilege of Islamic texts. But, democratic countries have a liberal approach. The statement of Sidhu is alarming. It definitely sounds Talibanic in nature. Especially in light of the recent events in Punjab.
In last two days, mobs have lynched two persons to death in Punjab. One in Amritsar and one in Kapurthala. In both the cases, killer mob accused them of sacrilege.
Police has stated that there was no sacrilege angle, at least in one of them. In other words, a mob brutally lynched a man to death for a crime he did not commit. Even more worrisome is the fact that authorities have failed to identify either of the two victims.
Deafening Silence of politicians: A dangerous signal
Yet, none of the politicians has condemned the murders. All of them have condemned the attempted sacrilege but failed to muster courage to sympathise with the victims. They must have had families. Somewhere a mother, a wife, a child must be waiting for them.
This silence from the political class is deafening. And unfortunately, it cuts across party lines. From Congress, AAP, CPI, BSP to BJP all of them are cautious. The caution is with an eye on vote bank. A vote bank of a blood thirsty mob.
Such vigilantism is a hallmark of regressive societies like Pakistan. The Islamic law, called Shari’a has such extreme provisions. But the ideologies that have originated in India are more humane and rational. Are we moving towards Talibanization of Punjab?