Review Article

Cold Facts that Changed Indian History...!*

Robert Clements

As the wheels of history, that had come to a standstill more in shock and terror, turn once more in India, with new positivity and harmonious energy, as minorities raise their nearly severed heads towards a newly found freedom, it’s days of hope they know will greet them once more, from the isolation and near persecution they have been subjected to for the last ten years. But in the 2024 elections, a nearly mutilated and decapitated opposition, funds frozen, members jailed, and others hounded by government agencies–ED, CBI etc. managed to clip the wings of the ruling party and curb the misused power that was being used, with the simple use of the ballot!

And how were the inked fingers convinced? What swayed the voters to reject the very ones that had propped up onto the Delhi chair? How were they convinced otherwise?

Not by hateful speeches, vengeful responses and mob frenzy.

Not by violent protests and parliamentary speeches, but by relentlessly presented, cold facts and figures of atrocities committed, killings executed, genocide ordered, event by event, put together, without emotion, just with time, date, people butchered and brutal events documented.

Bold men of India, travelled deep into the heartlands, nay crime-lands of the country, interviewed afflicted ones, comforted the bereaved, and recorded horrific events that the government had turned a blind eye to.

The voters didn’t. Their eyes were opened.

Events recorded in books like the ‘Status of Freedom of Religion or Belief in India Since 2014--A report”, changed the landscape of the country on election results day, 4th June, 2024, turning huge areas of saffron to a welcome, comforting green. Voters read, voters heard from those who read, and as incident after incident chronicled by lawyer Irfan Engineer, was received with shock and distress, the reaction was that the voter rejected in powerful numbers the handing over of such absolute power to the Bharatiya Janata Party again.

The book, mentions in detail, not just rapes and murders of minorities, but emotionlessly, hundreds of events of instigation and police brutality, changing of laws for the convenience of the majority, curbing of freedoms to curtail the minority, done with the blessings of the government. Events from Manipur to Mangalore, from Kashmir to Kolar! Brutal, heartrending, violent, ruthless!

Only a lawyer with a dispassionate eye could have looked at each such incident, and carefully noted the law misused or unused, or made useless. Only, a lawyer could have stated facts, leaving it to the mind’s eye of the reader to imagine each gruesome act or each incident of sheer helplessness by the victims, and hear their anguished, silent screams in the quiet of their reading room.

The book begins with the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of India, then moves onto the absolute disregard by the state to ensure these freedoms, and then detailed reports from all across India of acts of terror, and hate speeches by those in power that ignited these horror activities.

The people read, and the people cried ‘enough’ and it is to the likes of Irfan Engineer that we need to say a big thank you, for risking their lives and placing the safety and security of the people of India before their own lives.

The above is the review of the book ‘The Status of Freedom of Religion or Belief in India since 2014- A Report’ authored by Adv. Irfan Engineer. Irfan Engineer is a prominent author and social activist working on the issues of communal violence, freedom of religion, pluralism and democracy. Bob Clements is a columnist and thinker.

*‘The Status of Freedom of Religion or Belief in India since 2014–A Report’
is published jointly by Media House and Centre for Study of Society and Secularism.
Number of pages: 183
Available on Amazon
Price: INR 390 (Paper Back)

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Vol 56, No. 52, Jun 23 - 29, 2024