New Delhi: The Kerala government relaxed COVID-19 curbs to allow people to celebrate Bakrid. On the other hand, the Uttar Pradesh government had to take back its decision to allow Kanwar Yatra. What kind of secularism is this?
Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary on Tuesday (July 20) questioned the double standard when it comes to secularism in India.
When the constitution of our country came into force in 1950, we were promised that every citizen of this country will get equal status, irrespective of religion or caste. We were promised that Holi, Diwali, Christmas and Eid will be accorded equal importance. But today, after 71 years we are again raising this question – Why are the rules different for Diwali and Eid in our country?
The guidelines for the COVID pandemic dictate that crowds must be avoided. However, when the crowd is “green” it is allowed, while the situation turns around when it is “orange”.
The Supreme Court may have criticized the decision of the Kerala government, but it could not stay the order. This happened because these exemptions were given for July 18, 19 and 20. So, even if the court had put a stay on these rules today, it would not have mattered much as it was already too late.
Had the Supreme Court, like in the case of Kanwar Yatra of Uttar Pradesh, shown urgency in Kerala’s case, the crowd and the risk of infection could have been avoided.
On July 16, the Kerala government announced relaxation in the lockdown for Eid shopping. But this matter reached the Supreme Court after three days on July 19. The hearing in this case started only after the rules of relaxation were already in place.
On the other hand, in the case of UP, the Yogi government had decided on July 13 that Kanwar Yatra would be allowed in the state from July 25, but the very next day on July 14, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of it and asked the state to cancel the Yatra.
The government of Kerala bowed before the business organizations who demanded relaxations and forgot that at present the state tops the list of daily COVID cases in India. On July 19, about 30,000 new COVID patients were found in India, out of which about 10 thousand cases were from Kerala alone.
If such a decision had been taken by the UP government, it would have been declared as a Hindu government by the opposition leaders, intellectuals and members of the “tukde-tukde” gang. However, nothing of this sort happened in the case of Kerala.
At present, not just in Kerala but across the country, huge crowds are gathering in the markets for Eid shopping. But this crowd is not being seen through the same lens with which the people who gather on the festival of Diwali and Holi are viewed.
The bitter truth is the governments that regard themselves as the custodians of secularism promote communalism and indulge in minority appeasement.
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