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Hate will only beget hate

The gruesome murder of Kanhaiya Lal of Udaipur is deeply shocking and disturbing. Rather than bringing justice, it aggravates prejudice against the Muslim community. Islam does not justify violence in order to vent out anger. Justice is to be sought through proper channel and representatives. Since the end of Khilafat System (a ruling system prevalent amongst Muslims in the middle eastern region), the responsibility to address the criminals and to punish them lies with the elected representatives. It is not for the common man to take upon himself to punish anyone. In a democratic setting such as that in India, it is up to the courts of justice to punish the crimes of the acknowledged criminals.

While it is the right of the citizens to protest against any offensive, hurtful or instigating actions, and to make their complaints heard, it is not their right to give away punishments to anyone that they find offensive in the name of religious, political or social justice. Such acts must be discouraged and strongly condemned. Such people may feel that they are being vigilantes of the underdogs and doing what must be done. However, they are misguided in this thought. They must realize that their actions, when done in the name of religion, become representative of the moral codes and beliefs of the said religion. In this light, the murderers of Kanhaiya Lal have set a very poor example of the Muslim community and have endangered the lives of innocent Muslims who may now face the angst that has gripped the general public.

Islam is a religion of absolute justice. It does not allow personal feelings to be a factor that would hand out punishments and declare criminals. Islamic law clearly demands for the leaders of the community to take charge in all matters. Keeping this in mind, Indian Muslims must not confuse the heinous murder of Kanhaiya Lal as an act of veneration or respect. It was an act of unrestrained impulse under the influence of forces inimical to the country. At the same time, the Indian Muslim community should not become a target of angst and hatred on account of actions of individuals.

There is no doubt that the offensive remarks made by Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal, and those by several other political members who have made instigating comments against the minority Muslims and their religion on several occasions must be acknowledged, addressed and punished in order to secure the harmony of the nation. However, this justice cannot be attained through vigilantism. We must work together, as a united front, in order to share our grief and to represent our concerns, rather than dishing out our own sense of justice, rewards and punishments.

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