Sunday, August 24, 2014

Chilling hypocrisy

...."The moment I realised that the illustration had created a controversy and had hurt many people, I deleted the tweet for having inadvertently hurt their feelings"....
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We do not question the right of Teesta Setalvad to tweet vile pictures....freedom of speech must work (and seen to be working) for offensive speech. We are miffed because she considers all of us to have the IQ of a.....we are unable to point to a living organism that would be stupid enough to fit....who will find nothing improper or bizarre in her explanations (see detailed statement below).

We inadvertently hurt feelings of others when we are not sufficiently aware of how they think and if we do not understand (and appreciate) their beliefs. This is how we get Ganesha Toilets to be marketed in the West. But come on...a jihadi Kali...AND a jihadi Krishna?  
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Surely ignorance is not an excuse when you are known the world over as a champion secularist (this is sincerely meant), as a symbol of peace and as a person who stands up against hatred. You want to be a flame-thrower and then plead ignorance? What next, kill your parents and seek mercy as an orphan??

Setalvad is exposed as just another bigot, who plays the same game that she accuses Hindutva-vadis of doing...dividing people in the name of religion. Such examples of moral blindness will gravely harm the secular cause (we take no pleasure in saying so, but if she was that un-thinkingly brave she could have thrown in a photo-shop of the Prophet in the mix as well).

Thing is, we are convinced that activists such as Setalvad mean well. The message they hope to convey is also a fair one: terrorism committed by Hindus can be every bit as vile as terrorism committed by Muslims. Also, while religion is blamed for fomenting trouble (and we have often voiced such a sentiment ourselves), the underlying cause is often elite greed, the powers that be rule, do so by dividing we the commoners. If religion was not a divisive factor, they would find something else (language, caste,..).

There was indeed a much better way to promote the message that she wanted to convey. Muslim clerics have repeatedly denounced the actions of the Caliphate in Iraq. Why not say that the way of the jihadists is not the way of majority of muslims?

Secularists should be focused on ways to neutralize (or at least mitigate) the harmful side-effects of religion.....this will not be achieved by setting one religion against the other. If Setalvad has not figured this out by now she should step back from the cauldron...pronto.

Setalvad has now made a nice little rod for her own back. A number of FIRs have been launched, even otherwise her life may be in danger. We sincerely hope that she (or an associate) does not get hurt, though their credibility will be hurt...for a long, long time.
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Two FIRs were lodged in Gujarat on Saturday against social activist Teesta Setalvad for uploading objectionable images of Hindu deities on Twitter.
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The first FIR was lodged at Ghatlodia police station here by Vishwa Hindu Parishad activist Raju Patel, while the other was filed by Kirit Mistry at C Division police station in Bhavnagar.
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Further, an application seeking legal action against her was filed at Gomtipur police station in Ahmedabad by a Shiv Sena worker Jitu Solanki.
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Setalwad had yesterday tweeted a photo-shopped picture showing, among other things, ISIS terrorists with the American journalist James Foley just before his beheading.
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Inspector AG Gohil of Ghatlodia police station told PTI that Setalwad had been charged with various offences under the Information Technology Act and Indian Penal Code sections 153(a) (promoting enmity between two religious groups) and section 295 (a) (outraging religious feelings).
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As per the FIR filed in Ahmedabad, "the photo showed a member of minority community with the Sudarshan Chakra while another photo showed a terrorist beheading a journalist. This act by Setalwad has hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus". 

Setalvad, on the other hand, apologised on Saturday on her blog as well as on Twitter.
 "Sincere apologies for inadvertent tweet," she tweeted.
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Link: firs-against-social-activist-teesta-setalvad-in-gujarat-over-controversial-tweet

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regards