Pakistani flags and slogans being waved and chanted might be a regular occurrence in a conflict zone like Kashmir and it has been especially in the wake of constant support to separatist elements in Kashmir by that country. When ‘Pakistan zindabad’ slogans are chanted in the Hindi heartland it raises concerns especially if the slogans are chanted at a protest march for controversial preacher Zakir Naik.
This is a democratic country and grievances in such a diverse country are a reality and disgruntled individuals also have the right to protest if they feel that they are being targeted unfairly and unjustly by either the authorities or the media. When supporters of Zakir Naik come out in a protest and link the so-called unfair targeting of Naik to Pakistan. Then there is a problem, what is the link?? What are they trying to say? What point are they trying to prove? Do they not have faith in the Indian system? Who is backing these troublemakers? Is this a sinister design to destabilise the discourse which is already touching new lows every day?
The BJP says this is proof of how appeasement of a “particular community” leads to radical fringe elements becoming main stream. The saffron party has alleged that there are political forces that give these elements licence to propagate hate against the state for their narrow political gains. The JDU has reacted sharply to this, saying that these people have been identified and no one chanting anti-national slogans or propagating sedition will be spared. There have been a few arrests as well, but the fundamental question remains; by linking Pakistan to the Zakir Naik saga are these protestors proving the point that Zakir Naik’s critics have been making. The man is dividing people deliberately and spreading hate?