Video Producer/Editor: Shohini Bose
A day after a Hindu tailor was murdered brutally by two Muslim men in Udaipur, artists, scholars, and politicians demanded strict action against the killers and called for peace.
Kanhaiya Lal Teli, a tailor in Rajasthan's Udaipur, was murdered by two men on the afternoon of Tuesday, 28 June, in the city’s Dhan Mandi area, over his social media posts allegedly supporting suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma's remarks against Prophet Muhammad.
Historian and writer Rakhshanda Jalil said that there can be no excuses or extenuating circumstances to the incident.
"What happened in Udaipur has to be condemned in very unequivocal terms. I say this to you as a practicing muslim, this is not the Prophet’s way. If you think you’re doing it for your Prophet, for your religion, then you are misguided,” she said.
Meanwhile, Thiruvananthapuram MP and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor stressed on the unjustified nature of taking another life, of conducting violence and in crime, murder and criminality, regardless of "however irresponsibly people might speak" or the provocation that leads to such incidents.
Emphasising on the need to recognise religion as a personal affair, he said:
"What we need is instead a recognition that religion is a personal affair of human beings, that we need to respect their right to worship, and that we should keep religious bigotry out of our public and political sphere."
Condemning the incident, he added, "Some people have unfortunately chosen a terrible route to manifest their feelings, we condemn it, we must take action against those who instigated it. But that does not mean retribution or retaliation is the way forward. Calm and peace is what we need.”
Social activist and human rights campaigner Shabnam Hashmi condemned the "heinous crime" stated:
"This kind of violence should not be tolerated in any civilised society. The making of the video and its circulation has been done deliberately to spread disharmony among the communities. I request the authorities to take the strongest action possible against these two men."
She further appealed to "follow the footsteps of Gandhi, who believed in non-violence, peace and harmony."
‘Such Crimes Are the Last Act in the Theatre of Violence’
Carnatic vocalist TM Krishna appealed to pause and emphasised on the importance to realise that such acts of violence begin before the actual violence ensues. He said:
"We have to pause, and do everything in our power to keep the environment calm and peaceful. It’s also important for us to realise that these crimes, whether it is picking up a gun or a knife, are the last acts in the theatre of violence. The violence begins much before in the words that we utter, in the words that we type, in the lies that we spread, in the violence we provoke."
'Takes Us Towards aDangerous Future': Historian S Irfan Habib
Historian S Irfan Habib, calling the event "extremely frightening," warned that such incidents are taking us towards a "dangerous future".
"It only increases hatred. It is an outcome of the scenario in the country in the last few years because we keep seeing that there is a prevalent divide between people, communities, faiths. It is harmful for the nation," he said
Musician and social activist Vidya Shah said that there is nothing in Indian culture which may "defend, support or explain" such violence.
"Indian songs teach us why peace and love should reign. Even our scriptures say give love and peace a chance, violence leads us nowhere," Shah added.