Violating the Freedom of Expression

By Vinay Joshi

 Mr Albert Thyrniang’s article, “ Shillong RSS linked to Nazism and Fascism (ST Jan 29, 2016)” is an exercise in RSS bashing. As per the website of Don Bosco Tura (www.donboscoindia.org) Albert Thyrniang is Catholic priest. It means he is a religious leader. The common man takes religious leaders very seriously, which increases the responsibility of religious leaders manifold. The word and deeds of religious leaders are precious, and people expect, these words to be true and logical and that they should not contain fabricated views and be free of manipulation and chicanery. But Fr. Albert failed on all criteria. It would be fair for his reputation and the post he adorns, had he cross- checked his doubts by directly contacting RSS leaders in the region, but he didn’t. Instead, he used run-of-the-mill allegations to corner RSS. I firmly say, it won’t work anymore.

Let me analyze the overwhelming participation of indigenous youth in RSS Path Sanchalan (route march) in Shillong. It is a manifestation of tremendous confidence that is developed in the youth from Khasi and Jaintia community, which led them to participate in the RSS march. In the absence of RSS these youths from indigenous communities would have chosen another platform to express themselves. The valid mode of expression and due respect has been denied to indigenous tribes of North east India by many agencies. So, they chose RSS; nothing objectionable in it. After the abduction of Rijoy Singh Khongshah, people from indigenous faith had taken out a huge procession in Shillong in 2001 and about 20 to 30 thousand people participated in the procession, to express their anger against religious persecution. This time they came out not to protest anyone but to express their confidence in their Way of Life, which was suppressed for so long. PLEASE don’t deny their constitutional right. PLEASE don’t condemn them. PLEASE respect them, as doing so will ONLY increase your respect and space in the society.

We are now in 2016, where the internet has torn apart all myths and concocted theories. People can search for knowledge and information and decide their views, so no one can spread concocted, manipulated and fabricated theories in the guise of TRUTH.

As far the media is concerned, freedom of speech and expression is not mud sledging or allowing space for unsubstantiated allegations. Misusing the newspaper for making prototype allegations which are never proved in court of law is abuse of that freedom. As per my knowledge freedom of expression does not allows anyone to tarnish the image of any person or organization. Prejudice coupled with Gobelian Propaganda can be a dangerous cocktail; it can backfire.

The RSS has always welcomed positive criticism but has never used force, intimidation and conspiracy as a tool to neutralize its opponents. It is well known as to what happened to Bah Rijoy Singh Khongshah for his association with RSS. Rijoy Singh was a veteran indigenous Seng Khasi leader, who received repeated threats for his work for indigenous culture and Niam Tynrai religion. Rijoy Singh did not bow to pressure but ultimately lost his life. Do you attribute Rijoy Singh’s murder to high democratic principles? Was it not Nazism and Fascist ideology of eliminating opponents in a cold blooded manner?

Many are aware of what happened to Arnab Hajong the veteran Hajong author from Garo Hills for taking the side of Bangla script in Hajong language instead of Roman script. He vehemently opposed using Roman Script for Hajong language replacing Bangla, which is being used as official script since hundreds of years. Arnab Hajong received threats for his views. He ignored it and was finally physically assaulted on Garobadha bridge. No Police station registered any FIR in the matter. He approached Gauhati High Court, and Meghalaya Police registered FIR only after Hon High Court compelled Police to register the FIR.

Freedom of Expression is not a joke and no one other than RSS and Indigenous Faith Groups in North-East India know the real meaning of Freedom Of Expression, as RSS and Indigenous Faith Groups have lost scores of dedicated cadres in trying to safeguard Freedom of Expression. It is appropriate to recall the list of those who made sacrifices for defending Democracy and High moral values within last 30 years in North East India. Here is the list.

1)Bah Rijoy Singh Khongshah- Meghalaya-Abducted and murdered for serving ancient Niam Tynrai faith
2) Arnab Hajong- Garo Hills- Brutally assaulted for taking side of Bangla script and opposing Roman script
3) Swami Shanti Kali Maharaj- Tripura- Murdered for trying to preserve indigenous religion of Tripura tribals.
4)Pramod Dixit- Assam- Shot dead for being dedicated to social service
5)Shuklewar Medhi- Assam- Veteran professor and RSS leader shot dead for serving society,
6) Bineshwar Brahma of Bodo Sahitya Sabha killed for opposing Roman script to Bodo language,
7)Muraidharan- RSS Pracharak killed in Assam for social work .
8)Shyamal Kanti Sengupta- RSS Pracharak abducted and killed in Tripura,
9)Sudhamoy Dutta- RSS Pracharak abducted and killed in Tripura
10)Dinendranath Dey- RSS Pracharak abducted and killed in Tripura
11)Shubhankar Chakraborti- RSS Pracharak abducted and killed in Tripura.

The list of victims of religious and political persecutions is unending in North-East India. Senior journalist Nitin Gokhale had written an article in Tehelka a few years ago on the topic of religious persecution of tribals in Changlang and Tirap District of Arunachal Pradesh. (http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main4.asp?filename=Ne071004lord_of_the.asp). In the light of the above arguments it is patently unfair and biased on the part of Albert Thyrniang to launch such a vicious tirade against the RSS.

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