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The two men who killed Kanhaiya Lal must face the full force of the law, they must not get the power to spread their poison

While the crime has played out in public view, the grisly videos don't tell all, important questions remain

By: Editorial |
Updated: June 30, 2022 7:38:52 am
Even as there is no room for the politics of one-upmanship, there is hard political work to be done by all parties and players.

The killing of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur, captured and flaunted by his killers on video, is a gruesome crime. It has deservedly drawn the strongest condemnation across political and ideological lines in the country. The starkness of the horror permits no ambiguity in the aftermath — the perpetrators of murder as ghastly spectacle must be brought to justice quickly and firmly. In the days ahead, political parties and governments also need to step up to the challenge to keep the calm. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has called for Prime Minister Modi to address the nation and appeal for peace. It is essential that this does not become a bid by the Gehlot government to abdicate its own responsibility, or to pass the buck. It is its primary task to ensure that a firm message is sent out that any attempt to stoke or inflame communal anxieties and tensions will not be brooked in the state, in Udaipur or elsewhere.

Even as there is no room for the politics of one-upmanship, there is hard political work to be done by all parties and players. While the crime has played out in public view, the grisly videos don’t tell all, important questions remain. The National Investigation Agency, tasked with investigating terror-related crimes, has been called in, and a thorough probe will be needed to arrive at the answers.

Meanwhile, it will be the work of politics to ensure that important distinctions are not blurred and crucial perspective is not lost in a climate in which prime-time TV seems to increasingly take its cue from the fringe and hardliners, and too many of those with a social media account unresistingly give in to the temptation of delivering instant justice on complex issues by playing judge, jury and executioner. The industry of hurt sentiments is quite capable of manufacturing hate and violence, too. It is necessary, in this moment, to remember and to remind that one of Indian democracy’s biggest success stories has been that it is home to a Muslim minority which has not been drawn into the Islamic radicalisation story that has been unfolding in troubling ways elsewhere in the world.

As the law follows its course, therefore, politics has to step up to ensure responsibility and restraint after the crime in Udaipur. The two men who walked into the tailor’s shop and killed Kanhaiya Lal in cold blood must face the consequences — they must not be given the power to spread their poison.

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First published on: 30-06-2022 at 04:10:20 am
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