Nation

'When mob frenzy becomes irrational'

July 02, 2017 03:32 AM
President Pranab Mukherjee

Speaking at the release of commemorative publication of National Herald, President Mukherjee said, "I am not talking of vigilantism, I am talking of are we vigilant enough, proactively to save the basic tenets of our country." 

Recently, the country witnessed widespread protests across various locations under the tagline “Not in My Name” to protest against a streak of mob lynching incidents in the country. The lynching of 15-year-old Junaid Khan in a Mathura-bound train last week was the genesis of the flashpoint.

New Delhi: In the wake of growing number of mob lynching cases in India, President Prarnab Mukherjee on Saturday asked whether the society is vigilant enough to save the basic tenets of the country. “When mob lynching becomes so high and uncontrollable, we have to pause and reflect, are we vigilant enough?” Mukherjee was quoted as saying by ANI.


Speaking at the release of commemorative publication of National Herald, President Mukherjee said, “I am not talking of vigilantism, I am talking of are we vigilant enough, proactively to save the basic tenets of our country.”


Mukherjee inaugurated the programme in the presence of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.


Commenting on the increasing incidents of lynchings, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday that when “mob frenzy becomes so high and irrational, uncontrollable”, people “have to pause and reflect” and be proactively “vigilant” to “save the basic tenets of our country.” Otherwise, he said, future generations will “demand an explanation from us.” His remarks came days after Prime Minister Narendar Modi said that killing people in the name of protecting the cow was “unacceptable” and went against the ideals of Mahatama Gandhi.


 “We shall have to ponder over, pause and reflect when we read in the newspapers or see on television screens that an individual is being lynched because of some alleged violation of law or not. When mob frenzy becomes so high and irrational, uncontrollable, we have to pause and reflect. Are you vigilant enough… I am not talking of vigilantism. I am talking of are we vigilant enough, proactively to save the basic tenets of our country,” he said, adding that one cannot avoid one’s duty towards the issue. “Because we cannot avoid it, posterity will demand an explanation from us about what have you done,” said Mukherjee, addressing a function after releasing the commemorative publication of National Herald.


Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and the entire top leadership of the Congress were in attendance. The President also appealed to the media to remain constantly vigilant, saying democracy survives because of it. “I do believe that citizens’ vigilance, intellectual vigilance and media vigilance can act as the biggest deterrents to the forces of darkness and backwardness,” he said. Mukherjee recalled that Jawarhlal had inscribed the words “freedom is in peril, defend it with all your might” below the masthead of the National Herald.


“These words may have been written in 1939 but have its application and relevance for all time, whenever freedom is in danger and truly in peril. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and freedom and that vigilance can never be passive. It must be active, and active vigilance is the need of the hour,” he said. This is not the first time that the President has intervened in a raging debate. On March 2, he spoke on the need for space for dissent and debate in universities, and respect for women, days after Gurmehar Kaur, a Delhi college student, was threatened with rape after she called out the ABVP.


“There should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian. There must be space for legitimate criticism and dissent… Universities must engage in reasoned discussion and debate rather than propagate a culture of unrest,” the President had said. In December last year, in his inaugural address to the 77th session of the Indian History Congress in Thiruvananthapuram, the President said that “our traditions have always celebrated the argumentative Indian, not the intolerant Indian”.

 

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