Why violence will never be the remedy for our conflict

By Rev. Dr. Joseph D’souza for Christian Today

While the recent tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia have set off a domino effect of violent protest and counterprotest in America, in India, supremacism has long been sparking violence.

The shocking murder yesterday of Gauri Lankesh, 55, the editor and publisher of the Kannada-language ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike’ newspaper and a prominent advocate of secularism, illustrates further the dangers.

In Uttar Pradesh alone, more than 12,000 incidents of communalism – involving everything from land disputes, to desecration of religious sites and confrontations over mixed marriages – have been reported since 2010. Most famous among them are this summer’s deadly clashes between Thakurs and Dalits in Saharanpur district, which resulted in multiple deaths and extensive damage to property.

Dalits, sometimes called ‘untouchables’, have suffered discrimination for millennia by upper caste groups such as the Thakur. From being denied entrance to temples, to being forced to eat and prepare food separately and to clean human excreta and skin cattle, Dalits suffer a form of discrimination unparalleled throughout the world. They’re the constant target of physical and sexual violence, and at times their plight has driven them to commit suicide. Caste supremacism across faiths continues to rear its ugly head, even after 70 years of Indian independence.

Now Dalits have begun to protest and mobilize en masse. Some have even rallied around a group called the ‘Bhim Army’, named after the famous Dalit leader Bhimrao Ambedkar. Bhim Army was involved in the clashes in Saharanpur, and its leader, Chandrashekhar Azad, is currently under arrest.

Though we might be 7,500 miles apart, Indians and Americans are both facing a similar problem.

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