The religious intolerance with an ethnic dimension demonstrated in Ramu last month has been in national discourse for quite a while now. The time-lag allows for a dispassionate and objective analysis of where things went wrong, who pulled the trigger and how vandalism got a free rein snuffing out all on its path. The effects have been devastating on the Buddhist community, conscience of the nation rocked, and the demand for accountability still going unmet.
The general view is that the massacre was unprecedented both in its scale and intensity, to say nothing of targeting Buddhist community, spared thus far of any violation of their religious rights. Of course, a Rohingya hand has been suspected amid different other perspectives. But those with an eye for cause-and-effect-relationship tend to highlight the evolutionary aspects of indulgence given to a culture of intolerance feeding on manipulated exploitation of religious sentiments of common people. A robust recognition of the fact that the incidents were not spontaneous attack by outraged mobs rather they were doctored, triggered and helped to pan out by nefarious elements does not preclude the government's responsibility for a timely intervention to avert the mayhem. Now, the priority should be focused on ferreting out the actual culprits and bringing them to book so that the lost bits of confidence and self-assurance are restored to the Buddhist community.
The underlying message is that the majority being submerged in illiteracy, poverty and ignorance is susceptible to incitement. This all the more reinforces the need for zero tolerance to disrespect towards other religions, let alone vandalising and desecrating religious sites of minority communities. Let's not forget, freedom of religion is the cornerstone of Islamic faith.
Shreemad Satyapriya Mahathero's clarion call to his compatriots 'to save their future generations' is the quintessential message of the day that must be heeded for the sake of benign coexistence and harmony between different religious and ethnic communities in pluralistic societies.
A world view has also been taken by referring to bigotry in Pakistan of the Taliban type unleashed on teenaged education campaigner Malala; Egyptian fanatics raising arms against Coptic Christians; and in Nigeria, people of one faith impinging freedom of another faith.
'Proud to kill' is a form of bottled-in bigotry that is known as honour killing. "The most horrifying aspect of this in Pakistan is not the act itself, but the attitude and support of society for it". In 77% of the cases, acquittal is the predictable outcome.
Non-cooperation in politics has been innovatively dealt with. "Any unilateral effort to cooperate makes the non-cooperating party better off, and the cooperating party worse off. Consequently, no single party has an incentive to cooperate. " The solution, it has been suggested "lies in the design of an institutional structure that changes the perceived payoffs to non-cooperation by building trust on all sides. India is a good example with its Election Commission, CIB, the Parliament and the judiciary which are trusted by two major parties."