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No reason for violence

September 25, 2008

As if it wasn’t shocking enough to hear that a group of agitating workers bludgeoned to death the chief executive (Lalit Kishore Chaudhury) of Graziano Trasmissioni, we had to hear that the government found “reasons” for it. This is what the union labour minister said:

India’s labour minister declined to criticize the attack, saying it “should serve as a warning for management…The workers should not be pushed so hard that they resort to whatever happened.”

The minister, Oscar Fernandes, was forced to express regret for his inhumane words, and he also said on live television that he didn’t mean it, that he was misquoted, that he wanted to put it all behind him. He shouldn’t be allowed to put it behind him. This is not a frivolous matter.

The minister epitomizes what is wrong with India today. The high tolerance for violence in our country. As far as they are concerned, violence is fine, as long as it is not at their own doorstep!

This incident reminded me of the murder of Robi Mitra, a senior executive in Oil India Limited two decades ago. During the height of the Assam agitation against “outsiders” an anonymous call lured him to the hospital to “look at some of the injured,” but a mob was waiting for him and stoned him to death. Luckily at the time the government took stringent action and soon after that Oil India was handed over to an army general.

Today the government has become weak. It’s not just the labour minister. Here is something that went unnoticed, an ugly little speech by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in Kerala a few days ago. This gentleman said:

The alienation of the Muslim community in the country is taking educated Muslims towards the path of violence

Really? Alienation causes people to blow up innocent women and children? Murder babies and old people? Target injured people on their way to hospital?? Are we fools to believe this?

Not just that, Chidambaram hinted that soon the Christians would take the violent path!

There is the challenge of alienation of the Muslim community and more recently the Christian community…the hopelessness and despair of the Muslim community – and if not addressed firmly, the Christian tribal communities too – will rise new waves of terror…There is no other explanation for the phenomenon of graduates and engineers and doctors – born, educated and living in India – taking to the path of violence…

No other explanation? I find that hard to digest.

Why should anyone think that if people have been wronged, they will resort to killing innocent people? Is this normal? It isn’t about self-defence, it is not even about revenge, it’s about attacking and killing innocent people. Only criminals (and mentally unstable people) attack innocent people. They lack a conscience and do not or cannot distinguish friend from foe. They will kill anyone who comes in the way of their objective. Sure, they have a reason, just like a psychopath has a reason.

When dacoits attack and kill random people do we say that they have a “reason” to kill even if they are poor and marginalised? Do all poor and oppressed people resort to violence against innocent people?

We know they don’t and we have no reason to find anyone’s reasons for violence acceptable. Sure, they have reasons, everyone has a reason…but we need to reject those reasons.

I am sick and tired of “reasons” being people put forward for mindless violence, as if a “reason” is justification. Violence needs to be controlled by the police. The government should have zero tolerance level for violence.

The people who give justifications for criminal acts are either twisted themselves or are abdicating their responsibility. If “reasons’ are accepted as a justification for committing violence, that means violence will slowly become socially acceptable and the human race will start to regress to what it was in the stone age.

If anyone, absolutely anyone, bludgeons an unarmed man to death he is a criminal.
If anyone plants a bomb in a public place he is a mass killer.
If anyone blows up government installations he is to be treated as someone trying to destabilize the country…

Treat any “reason’ as venting or ranting. Reasons are not justifications. And if government officials offer “reasons” as justifications for violence in the country, they are have no place in the government.

Related Reading: Reasons why we should not have a Prevention of Terror Act
Don’t call them terrorists, call them criminals
Violent mobs should be pay for their misdeeds
Is torture necessary for interrogation?
Educated Indians in terror plot isn’t all that shocking
Muslims turning away from terrorism but the world is against them

64 Comments leave one →
  1. hoku permalink
    September 25, 2008 10:03 am

    You are absolutely right . There is no place of violence.
    But media and blogs remained silent two years back when security guards of some company killed two agitating workers at Noida. That news never made headline (in fact it was not mentioned in most of the news papers at all). Recently again at Noida when police firing killed two farmers asking for more compensation for their lands we remained silent.
    I am not supporting any killing. Who ever kills should be jailed or hanged. My intention is to show how unfair we are. If its is a CEO we must morn and write pages on virtues of non violence but we prefer to remain silent when the victim is some one from the Joe Public or some one from Sajjanpur.
    BTW issuing pink slips to employees keeping executive compensation intact, forcing people to work (even childrens) more than 8 hours, forcing people to work in toxic environment, not depositing contribution to EPF are act of violence too.

    Not at all denying what you are saying Hoku (although I am talking of physical violence here, not issuance of pink slips), violence against anyone is bad. But the point I was trying to make that government officials are condoning the violence. That is my point. – Nita.

  2. September 25, 2008 10:20 am

    something for u on my blog

  3. September 25, 2008 10:23 am

    @ Nita

    This is all too common in Bihar where supervisors in mines etc are killed by workers. You may remember a few years ago, an IIT engineer was also brutally murdered. In western UP, people rarely leave their front doors open.

    But Hoku has a point. Who stands up for the poor people? Nobody. We consider them a nuisance blotting our comfortable lives or evils that must be tolerated e.g. servants whom we pay poorly and treat worse.

    And yet Chidambaram has a point too. A society where too many are left behind can not sustain peace and coherence. Britain is beginning to face this problem too what with a rise in knife crime which is largely blamed on disintegrating families, poverty and disenfranchisement of certain segments of society.

    Now when I experience my own country through less frequent ‘sampling’, I am becoming of the view that we are largely a very brutal and individualistic society, notwithstanding what our media portrayals are i.e. spiritual, family oriented etc. I think we may have begun to believe our own PR.

    How will the cycle be broken? I suppose the society has to come to a collective answer. Of that I am not too hopeful.

    Shefaly, all good points and I understand and agree. However I find Chidambaram’s statement objectionable. He is giving a handle to those who indulge in violence. I agree wholeheartedly with your statement that we are actually a very brutal society, co-existing though with some of the family values and spirituality. Maybe the latter is the balm for the former. – Nita.

  4. September 25, 2008 10:24 am


    Well said.

    What the Labour Minister said is indicative of the extent to which we have become insensitiveto violence. The guy must be senile to utter such rubbish.

    What the Finance Minister said, re: alienation, is indicative of a new and disturbing trend.

    Such talk of alienation has suddenly become fashionable. Every one makes it look as if this has been a six decade long all-India, deliberate social agenda to side-line, marginalise and alienate the

    Minorities in their own home!!!! sounds ridiculous. They are sons of soil, following a different religion, and, not migrants who have come from a foreign land.

    You are absolutely right – violence is violence and must be ruthlessly put down. No mercy called for.
    We do not need mushy headed Human Rights and Civil Rights interfering.

    By conjuring up such concepts, we are trivialising the problem and seek to lay the blame at some other door step. We are not able to confront the problem as it is and get diverted to irrelevant matters.

    You will also notice that years of neglect and interference has also weakend the police force and left it incapable of handling newer forms of crime.

    thanks Mavin. I too am sick of this “alienation” theory. Its time politicians stopped thnking of their vote banks while making such statements. – Nita.

  5. hoku permalink
    September 25, 2008 10:43 am

    Nita@ my feeling is increase in violence ( I would rather say mob violence) is just a manifestation of underlying discontent and frustration of the population. We should rather try to address the causes.

    Hoku, who said that society’s problems should not be solved? Ofcourse they should, but not by violence, not even if people are pushed to the edge. Is that what the Dalits are doing? They are fighting by the due process of law. If you are saying that a discontented and oppressed person has a right to murder and kill, I find that shocking, if that is indeed what yu are saying. – Nita.

  6. tarunreflex permalink
    September 25, 2008 10:57 am

    just a minor addition to the article:
    Kapil Sibbal (in his article of yesterday’s Indian Express) produced facts (arranged nicely in Tabular form..) to show that there have been less serious terrorist attacks and and more arrests in the regime of this government than the previous one! It Seems Govt. does not seem to pay any attention (no matter what happens in the country ) as long as it can produce (manipulate) data to show that – ‘The present govt. has done better than the previous ones!’

    Violence – Its been a curse to this country since its very division (1947), Not even a day goes by without any news of Brutal violence. Its a county of more than a Billion people with clashing ideologies and increasing intolerance and no government can ensure complete safety unless WE, the citizens understand take some responsibility.
    Violence is an issue for which only govt. can’t be blamed.

    I read in Maslov’s need hierarchy theory ,That unless basic necessatities of life are not fulfilled ,one can not go for self-actualization. What the Govt. can do is to provide these basic amenities (like adequate food,water,education….)
    and in the mean time we,citizens need to introspect.

    About the comments by the ministers of our Govt., They show pure ignorance and misinterpretation but i think the ‘public’ is way too wise to give a thought to what they say or project.

    Tarun, politicians should leave the job of policing to the police. – Nita.

  7. September 25, 2008 11:07 am

    Thing is also that we are getting used to crime and all mishaps. We have stop being shocked or deeply affected uness a calamity befals one of us. We forget blasts, murders and dismiss them as a piece of regular news and bury ourself cowardly in our work. 😦

    No wonder, people at helm, are also taking same approach and they are finding reasons and justifications for crime. We have lot of Healthcliffs in making. But truth is why Helathcliff became what he did is not justified.

    Thanks Poonam, your example of Healthcliff is good. I always believe that those who read literature are truly human and humane!
    And it’s frightening isn’t it, to become desentized to violence? And as you said the people at the helm they feel far removed from the violence because they are surrounded by rings of security!! First, remove their security, let them be at the recieving end! How would Mr. Fernandes feel if someone comes at him with a hammer and axe because of a grievance?? These sickening statements are easy to make as long as one is protected. – Nita.

  8. September 25, 2008 11:10 am

    Nita if you push people in to a corner they will fight back. You seem to have started a debate here about just where the corner is and how far can someone be pushed? Mob violence is not a new phenomenon in India or anywhere else?

    I have lived with 10 years of violence in Punjab and yes it did happen because people were pushed to a corner. It took a long time to recover, you have been in the North-East and they are fighting back as well. Fighting is a part of the human nature, that is what our survival is based on.

    I agree with you that it is silly of the government to promote violence but it does just that. In how many states has the Indian government handed over weapons to a select group of people because the government has failed to protect life and property of a particular group of people?

    Did anyone even both to hear out the workers in this case btw? Are they automatically assumed murderers? Isn’t there any due process in this land anymore, are they alleged killers now or convicted already? We are not eye witnesses there and we do not know if there was any provocation? Even murder is justified under some forms of provocation in some legal systems!

    Odzer, I am not quite sure what you mean, maybe I haven’t understood it. But from whatever I understand, no, I disgree with your views. Reasons are a separate thing from justification. If you are talking of reasons, as I said, there are always reasons, but there is no justification, not ever. We are not living where laws of the jungle rule us, we have to live within some rules, however badly implented they are – nita.
    P.S also there were eye-witnesses to the murder. So saying that the people were not guilty is deflecting the issue.

  9. hoku permalink
    September 25, 2008 11:14 am

    odzer@ well said.

  10. September 25, 2008 11:30 am

    wait a sec! The point is, it is wrong to indulge in violence. If a worker had been bludgeoned to death by a harassed CEO, would you (odzer & hoku) have had the same reaction? The answer surely is no. Is this because the life of a CEO is less valuable? Are you justifying the killing because the man made a lot of money, but that killing of a worker is not because he struggles for three square meals a day? I find that impossible to accept. Life is equally valuable. An alienated Muslim, or a suffering worker may be justified in feeling hurt or frustrated, but is not justified in killing the boss or blowing up a train.

    Amrutha, good points, because there are those who think that (I am not saying that either Hoku or Odzer feel that). There is no justification for killing. – Nita.

  11. September 25, 2008 11:33 am

    @Nita Absolutely with you on this post. All this talk of reasons for violence is utter nonsense. In a civilized society we need to put an end this. We should NOT, by word, direct or indirect, let anybody think that their acts of violence will be excused.

    @Mavin //You are absolutely right – violence is violence and must be ruthlessly put down. No mercy called for.
    We do not need mushy headed Human Rights and Civil Rights interfering.//
    I think ‘mushy headed Human Rights and Civil Rights interfering’ is what makes ours a democracy and ensures that justice is done. Can you imagine how our police and our government will behave if there were no respect (and fear) of Human Rights and Civil Rights activists. We need a balance where the wrong doer is punished and the innocent are protected. Without Human and Civil rights violation concerns our government will find it very convenient to solve all cases, to suit themselves.

    IHM, that’s the key word, a civilized society. That is what we need to aim to be and keep aside all this nonense of people giving reasons and justifications to indulge in violence. On a talk show the other day Kiran Bedi said, “let the police do its job!” But when people like Fernandes make statements for their vote bank, it is undermining the police. – Nita.

  12. September 25, 2008 11:39 am

    @odzer All grievances can be, have to be, sorted out without bludgeoning someone to death. Otherwise it becomes rule of the jungle, where you kill someone and find some justification…where dose that take us? It has to be firmly, legally controlled.
    Human Rights violation by one is not to be tackled by human rights violation by others.

  13. September 25, 2008 12:08 pm

    @ Amrutha : Did I say that the life of a CEO is less valuable? I wonder how you got that idea! Violence is a part of the human nature is what I said. It is what causes the violence that has to be stopped if you need to stop violence otherwise if it happens it happens! Even little children fight if there are conditions to cause that fight. Now that you have raised the point I will just say if a worker had been killed by a CEO and the provocation was justified I would still have said that it was a crime due to provocation and passion. The questions you have to ask yourselves is, “Did a whole crowd of people go solely to murder this person?” and “Were there any circumstances just before the killing happened that caused it?” Like I said there are no eyewitnesses here so it could have been anything. Those who claim that violence is not an option under any circumstance have good intentions at heart but you can not just survive on good intentions only.

    @ Indianhomemaker : Yes there are other ways to solve these problems. So? What is your point? All I said was that violence is a natural reaction of humans. Murder is not something that was invented yesterday? People often take the easy way out bludgeoning someone to death may appear easier than trying to negotiate with them especially if you are mad at them. Are you afraid of the rule of the jungle? If so that is a completely different matter. People who condemn violence often support organised violence of the state by the way, for example death penalty. I have often met many Pro-Life, For Death Penalty people. Anyone can kill under the right circumstances. It is the circumstances that must be examined and verified which we can not.

  14. September 25, 2008 12:10 pm

    @ hoku : Thank you! I should stop leaving so many responses it is Nita’s blog not mine! Sorry Nita!

    Odzer, you are welcome! I love it when people give different views, it makes me think and re-examine my own views. I may not agree immediately, but the words set me thinking. And there is nothing better that commentators discussing amongst themselves, that is the whole purpose of this blog! At times I feel like an intruder myself and wonder if I should reply or not! – Nita.

  15. hoku permalink
    September 25, 2008 12:12 pm

    Amrutha@ indianhomemaker@
    Yes, what the workers have done is wrong and they should be punished.
    Can any one tell what they should have done instead? Go to court? Go to labor commissioner? Sit in a hunger strike to be thrown out next day by police? Throng cities with begging bowls? Or they should have committed suicide as their peasant Brethrens are any way doing every day.
    ( How come, these ‘scum of the earth’ get frustrated so easily and take law in your hand. People surviving with less than $1 a day have no right to exists. In fact they should commit suicide en masse. That would solve half of India’s problem. If they are not strong enough to commit suicide, they should better get migrated to Sub Saharan Africa and save us from the disgrace. We the tax payers would request OUR government to give them a onetime Sub Saharan subsidy to get them transported there. We have much better things to do.)

    sorry to intrude on your dialogue with Amrutha and IH, but cannot help it. Hoku, just think if every sacked worker took the law into his own hands. There would be no industry today, no businessman would feel secure enough to be one, and if he didn’t sack, the business would perish. As to what the people with greivances should do, I don’t know, it depends on the case. But frankly I would rather kill myself rather than kill another. Again I am talking of my morality, if someone feels that murder is a more moral method, good luck to them. I would be disgusted by it, and think such a person as evil. And no “reason” would make him less evil in my mind, unless it is self defense. – Nita.

  16. September 25, 2008 12:15 pm

    @ Odzer

    I think much of the dialogue is lost between “ideological and dare I say even idealistic opposition to violence” not being separated from the “realpolitik of life”. Your example of pro-life, pro-death penalty people is perfect because they are using a combination of these two approaches to life.

    It is perhaps safe to say that while many of us here may not have experienced the grinding poverty of the kind that forces one to sell his/ her soul, most of us have seen violence of one sort or another.

    Is it any wonder that the discussion becomes polarised even as most of us agree on the ‘wrongness’ of violence? But to ‘solve’ it properly, we need to acknowledge that the disenfranchised feel powerless most of the time and a murder often is the straw that broke the camel’s back. It may not be justifiable but it sure needs us all to introspect.

    PS: In case you see this long comment as a criticism, it is not. I understand your point(s) as they are similar to mine but worded differently.

  17. September 25, 2008 12:15 pm

    Completely agree. Nothing in your post to disagree. To add, wrt Chidu’s comments, it is these very politicians who remind us that we are Hindus or Christians or Muslims. Minorities are a creation of politics. Mob violence generally erupts due to the lack of faith in the system and the high-handedness and lack of approachability to problems perceived by the common man. Meetings can turn violent if not handled with tact and a bit of preparedness for the worst.

    Thanks Gopinath. The politicians are the trouble makers. – Nita.

  18. September 25, 2008 12:18 pm

    So, either one can Hit and run, or one can stay there and get attacked and killed by the mob.

  19. September 25, 2008 12:21 pm

    @ Anshul

    If you do a hit-and-run in the UK, the law – thanks to our cameras and people who phone in to report – the law comes down on you like a tonne of bricks. So very few run from a scene of accident – nobody relishes a long stint in the slammer.

    One has to ask why the mob feels compelled to attack individuals in India. What is it about us?

  20. September 25, 2008 12:36 pm


    Most of the hit and run cases etc. get reported here too and now people have stopped running because they know they can run but they can’t hide thanks to BMW case, but here one is not running from the accident, he is running for his life and for that he will keep on running…

    These days they even molest in mobs, kill in mobs, get killed in mobs(from riot police), die in mobs(natural disasters) etc..

    I don’t know what compels them, but what doesn’t stop them is lack of law or its enforcement to crack down on them.

  21. hoku permalink
    September 25, 2008 1:32 pm

    @Nita, I am sorry I am making far too many comments.
    My intention is not to say that one should take law in his/her own hand. What I want point out is if we don’t address issues faced by the marginalized we should be ready for social upheaval. People pushed to the corner with no hope in sight may behave in a manner not too palatable to the civil society. Underlying discontent and frustration may break the society. I think, in this case the person taking law in his hand is aware of the consequence but is not much worried about it as he thinks things can’t be any worse.

    comments are welcome Hoku. And I am all for addressing important issues, as a preventive measure, because it just needs one misguided person to come along and incite others to violence. I am a great admirerer of Dr. Ambedkar. He was a visionary and I think he has changed the face of the Dalit movement. People need these kind of leaders. – Nita.

  22. compulsivewriter permalink
    September 25, 2008 1:35 pm

    I was just pondering about the increased tolerance for violence in our society and can’t help but wonder, what has made us like this. We don’t cringe when we see blood spattered dead bodies on the front page of the national newspapers, we don’t cringe when our movies portray murders like they are acts of benevolence. Why?

    There are a lot of vested interests who are instigating violence in our society, and many of these are political forces Your “why” has no answer… all I know is that we need to remain sensitive. – Nita

  23. September 25, 2008 1:36 pm

    @ odzer..” violence is a natural recation of human nature”…Is it a reason enough for those pyschos who resort to violence and create ruckus. I completely disagree with your hidden allegiance towards violence. As this post said, Reasons can be no jusfication for violent activities otherwise the democratic, secular structure of our country, which we are very proud of will be tainted.

    There is always a way of putting your view and certainly violence is not one.

    Nita, a timely post.


    Thanks Priyanka. – Nita.

  24. September 25, 2008 1:40 pm

    Violence and killing of human being cannot be justified by any plausible statements.

    I was really scared when I heard about mob killing the CEO,it was him that day…. it can be one is any other day.Who knows 2moro something on our blogs gets someone agitated and …. horrible isn’t it.

    I was shocked by the union labour ministers comment.How can some1 be so insensitive towards a issue like this.

    I came to know about PC’s statements from your blog, I feel sorry that such an educated person can think like this. Who is alienating whom? I guess no one is.. but when such comments are passed by people like PC.. the crowd assumes they are alienated, when they actually are not.

    the question is why are people turning to violence? I mean is there not any other way to show their frustation or anger?

    India is in a sorry state.

    Sharad, you are right, this kind of violence can happen to anyone. I think that it is always important to put ourselves in the shoes of the victim, any victim, and I guess I have in a way answered compulsive writer’s question…if we can empathise, we remain sensitive. – Nita.

  25. hoku permalink
    September 25, 2008 2:41 pm

    Nita@ on second thought I think you are not 100% right.
    We like it or not violence exists in our society. We do support it (during Kargil we never asked our government to be non violent, now we think this government is too soft to terror). We get worried only when our existence is threatened or we find one of us (in this case the unfortunate CEO) is the victim.
    When we say who ever has killed the CEO should be hanged (is not that violence). When we say police should take action, do we expect police to behave like MKG?
    Governments regularly take recourse of violence to further their interest (attacking Iraq is an example), to quell violence or to keep their existence.
    Wars ended either when we ran out of ammunition or when the opposition is vanquished.
    I don’t think our independence is just an end product of MKG’s non violent means.
    Even our religious texts (including The Gita) justify violence for righteous cause.
    Bolshevik revolution was not very non violent. Nor their mechanism to keep sphere of influence intact was very humanly. Neither was America’s attempt to stop capitalism was non violent (Vietnam, Latin America).
    I think this list would be much bigger.
    Waiting for the brickbat.

    Hoku, we were attacked during Kargil and I am all for self-defense. So I think you misunderstood what I was saying. And no one is supporting the death penalty here, at least I have not read any comment supporting the death penalty. And why should police behave like MKG? And no one is supporting government sponsored violence…I think you have taken the discussion out of its ambit. In fact you have written about so many issues my head is reeling! 🙂 As you are fairly new to my blog, perhaps you may not know that I do not believe in taking one principle and applying it to all events, particularly complex events like you have described. We will need a separate post on each of those subjects! – Nita.

  26. September 25, 2008 2:49 pm

    you are absolutely right Nita, no reason is justified for violence..and many times i’m surprised when some people speak about Naxalism in the tone of showing sympathy to those terrorists

    The other day i was watching an interview with Narendra Modi on “Aaj Tak” channel, when Prabhu Chawla asked him ” What is your message to terrorists” Then Modi replied ” Woh log Moorkh hote hain jo Atankvadion ko sandesh dete hain”
    means ” Those who give messages to terrorists are fools”….I liked this reply

    Vivek, Just yesterday I saw a documentary about how the Naxals were destroying government infrastructure which was depriving the tribals of basic amenities. The villages are saying, only the us water and roads, why are the naxals destroying all of this? But at the same time they spoke in fear and said no one dare speak against the Naxals otherwise they are killed! – Nita.

  27. September 25, 2008 3:05 pm


    You said:Even our religious texts (including The Gita) justify violence for righteous cause.

    you are absolutely right, but Gita also defines what actually can be termed as righteous cause.

    You by no means can call the killing of CEO righteous, where as Kargil war was a different thing, I do not think you should relate two, and even if you do you should think what is righteous and what is not!!

    By the way if you do a google on righteous killing the first page displays result of the movie directed by Jon Avnet. With Robert De Niro, Al Pacino in lead roles 😆

  28. September 25, 2008 3:49 pm

    wells said…
    but, as it is has been pointed out earlier — the law has to be uniform whether it is rich or poor.
    send the bombers to prison or the gallows — but the same applies to Bajrang Dal members who burn innocents.
    also, the redressal mechanisms have to be stronger. we have one third of our districts that have fallen to Naxals, not just because of intimidation by the Naxals. it is also the perception that the state doesn’t work for many !

    Harini, I agree, it’s time the govt. banned BD. I don’t know what is stopping them. State doesn’t work, as we have that perception, but we all need to fight for it. I think the greatest thing that has happened in the last year or two is the RTI Act. It is exposing the wrong doings of the politicians. Once the media too starts exposing the government, through films, tv serials and more stings, we will be on our way. These ways take time, but is the only thing that works in the long term. – Nita.

  29. September 25, 2008 4:09 pm

    @ Priyanka : I said “Violence is a part of the human nature”. I have no hidden allegiances, I am openly an Anarchist and very proud of it. No law made by man in my view can supersede the law of nature. Nature is not benevolent and kind 24 hours a day. All I said in my previous posts was that if State is violent so can be individuals. Anything that exists today is impermanent including society it can fall apart and has fallen apart so many times. Do I support violence over non violence then? No. I think both exist, just closing your eyes to violence will not solve any issues. Do I support the people who murdered this man? No. I think the law should apply if it exists and they are innocent till proven guilty in a court of law. If there is a system then these people have an equal right to use that system to defend themselves. Whether you like it or not. If there is no system they are not guilty because if there is no law murder is just natural.

    @ Nita : I find sharads post very interesting, it seems to me that what he says about the fear of being killed in a similar way is what drives his thinking. Now remember I am a business owner and I employ people! If they are angry and they are protesting outside my gates it means at some level I have failed as a Manager of people. As I said above till these men are proven guilty they are innocent. We were not there, we can not say and we still do not know what provoked this murder. Violence is just a tool, albeit extreme which is available to people. Perhaps its a gender thing, Men often fight with each other to resolve their frustrations and they are also more likely to be part of mobs. In fact to be honest I often enjoy a bloody fight or a soccer match brawl. It is something not as easy to explain perhaps.

    Interesting what you said, about it being a gender thing, maybe partly so. But I do not know personally any men who support violence, even in an indirect way, like you do. And my whole family is from the Army, right from my grandfather! We are all fighters, and kick ass if somebody attacks, but killing defenseness people (or even verbally attacking a defenseless person) is an act of cowardice and something that is disgusting, whatever the grievance. I think you are speaking of something else, but even now I am not getting it! 🙂 – Nita.

  30. September 25, 2008 4:16 pm

    @ Shefaly : I understand your post this time! Poverty is one thing but there are others as well. Imagine if someone is battered or abused everyday? What if they decide to kill their oppressor? The fact is humans do not kill each other every day. We do have many quarrels and fights, we get drunk etc etc but we do not usually kill people unless something extreme happens. (of course there are minor exceptions) I think why people kill is far more important than punishing murderers. (I say go ahead do that by all means) Although simply saying all violence is bad etc and must be condemned is a bit simplistic. Sometimes a good fight is far more healthy than being Mr/Ms. Goody Two Shoes 🙂

  31. hoku permalink
    September 25, 2008 4:21 pm

    Odzer@ great! What about boxing, WWF, bull fight?
    Nita@ sorry for writing again, I know you would kill yourself but won’t hurt others. So I have taken another chance.

    Hoku, I did not say that. I said I would rather kill myself rather than kill another. As for hurting, as long as you are polite here, no hurting I promise! 😀 – Nita.

  32. September 25, 2008 4:27 pm

    @ Odzer

    😆 getting killed in similar me does not drive my thinking. There are some alien forces which sometimes I am not able to control drives my thinking.

    I nearly got lynched by mob when I clicked some pics for one of my posts 🙂

    I am not able to comprehend your liking towards violence,but yes, as you said and as Gita says too violence for righteous call could be justified.

    I too love to watch WWE 😆 :lol:, but enjoying bloody brawl is something different.

    The problem is humans are killing each other everyday, no day goes without a report of someone being murdered somehwere.

    I feel a healthy debate is always good than physical fight be it for a post on a blog 😛

  33. September 25, 2008 5:41 pm

    @ Nita : I do not have a liking towards violence. I just enjoy a fight or two. I may even get in to one just to pleasure my sadistic side. Anyway fun apart, lets just say this so it makes things a bit clear. I do not support blowing up of innocent people or innocent factory owners. My point is that we are not sure of what happened so why judge these people? How many people are murdered everyday even in the most lawless parts of India? I think the chance of getting murdered in India is far less than getting run over by one of those BMW boys. Its a case that basically exposes the fragility of the “societal order”. It brings shivers down many a spine to think of what will happen if their favourite Nepali naukar decides to bump them off one day. It also perhaps exposes the fear of a “revolution” which will upset the middle class boggy in this country. People are often afraid of massive change and what if you wake up one day and the protective cover of the law is gone? Does the law really protect you though? Think about it? How prepared are people by themselves to avoid violent situations? When was the last time we behaved decently (and not condescendingly) with the people that work for us? When was the last time you thanked your maid when she gave you a cup of tea? Ah the motive of a murder could be such a little grievance — resentment. Who builds this resentment? So do I really think the factory owner was totally innocent or did he bring it upon himself? I am not sure, I only have my little ideas. A lot of people here have tried to equate this murder with the bombing of this or that city. Terrorism and murder can not be equated. Terrorists have political agendas and they victimise completely unrelated individuals at random. Murder has a definite motive if not it is just manslaughter.
    (Which I believe is the case in this particular event with the CEO)

    @Sharad : How about a healthy debate and a fight afterwards? We could even break for tea. I make a lovely cup.

    Odzer, I still am a little confused! 🙂 I am sure your question was just rhetorical, but far more chances of getting murdered in India than being run over by the BMW boys. In fact far more truck drivers and tempo drivers mow down people, but it hardly gets a mention in the news. This aspect had come out in a previous post of mine, that celebrities tend to get both end of the stick, as victims and as perpetrators. And if you are saying people should be prepared to handle violent situations, ofcourse. There is no absolutely no doubt about that. About servants, in the kind of localities we live, servants are pampered no end. But I know that is not the reality of India, I know they are exploited, but the killings that have taken place (by servants) because of a grievance are completely unjustified and I refuse to accept any justification for it. And no I don’t agree that the factory owner brought it upon himself, he was an employee of a 100% subsidiary of an Italian firm. The man was innocent. But even if he had sacked the workers, I do not think he “brought” it upon himself. His murder may not be random, but that does not make him any less innocent. If a robber targets a rich house, it doesn’t make the rich man any less innocent. No way.
    Odzer, I don’t think you realise it, but you seem to be supporting violence, but something tells me that you don’t mean it that way. You also seem to be supporting the idea of violence against those in power, although you deny it. – Nita.

  34. September 25, 2008 5:45 pm

    @ Hoku : I am more a Muay Thai watching kind of a guy but boxing is nice!

  35. September 25, 2008 6:09 pm

    Hats off! Extremely hard-hitting article, and it’s just brilliant! I loved it!

  36. hoku permalink
    September 25, 2008 6:14 pm

    odzer@ your last post addressed to Nita is excellent .
    Maama Mia! Muay Thai is too violent. Should keep distance from you and ‘the fighter’ Nita.

  37. September 25, 2008 6:53 pm


    I have not heard abt servants murdering cuz of grievance. I always thought money or sometimes some uncontrolled hormones are the reason behind it.


    Although I am a tea buff and can have tea anytime of day. You cannot bribe me into fighting(violence) over a cup of tea.Will love to have tea with you, but “no fighting….shakira shakira…. 😆 ”

    That too Sharad, that too. All will say it’s a grievance though won’t they. Some genuine, some not. Who is to decide? The murderer thinks he is right, but even there is a genuine greivance, no reason to kill. No reason for violence. I think we agree on that! 🙂 – Nita.

  38. wishtobeanon permalink
    September 25, 2008 7:24 pm

    It is very sad to hear that the government condones violence, but again its not surprising because it is the politicians who are mainly responsible for most mob violence and riots. It is very sickening to hear such news and I am really afraid and sad for the younger generation growing up in India. How do we root out the corruption, poverty and the sick mentality of people? – just a rhetorical question.
    Thanks, Nita for blogging about relevant issues of India.

  39. September 25, 2008 7:50 pm

    I completely agree with your views. Nothing in this world justifies violence. And violence for violence is nothing but an example of our weakness.

    The government & it’s ministers, the less the better it is.

  40. September 25, 2008 8:15 pm

    Wow, this is a nice article and nothing but truth. I cannot understand how barbaric people still are. Feels like the Union times in the 1980’s where Labourers kill their Mill owner bosses.

  41. September 25, 2008 10:24 pm

    Our ministers should either open their mouths to say something sensible or should keep their mouths shut. Religion and communal violence are some very serious topics which every Indian is sensitive to. We all have scars which are hard to remove.
    Having said that, whatever the reasons might be behind the murder of Mr. Lalit Kishore, the fact remains that it was a murder. No one had the right to take his life.

  42. September 25, 2008 10:44 pm

    nita, interesting debate.

    passing on this link to another group of people debating the same issue in a private forum i am a part of.

  43. September 26, 2008 1:51 am

    nice post
    ‘As far as they are concerned, violence is fine, as long as it is not at their own doorstep!’
    u said it

    everyone is much angrier with the whole lot of politicians like him
    so do we bludgeon him to death ?

    anshul has a point , it is in peoples blood and we still have clan or feudal culture in India
    this is also a part of vote bank politics

  44. September 26, 2008 1:59 am

    I thought the minister Fernandez’s response was boneheaded, and hints at deep problems. However, I did not think Chidambaram’s was as bad as you did. Yes, violence is ugly, innocents should never have to suffer, but it happens all the time. Not that that makes it right or acceptable – but just shows the level of evolution humans have really come in spite of advances.

    A lot of time, actions force actions, which build upon each other like a domino effect leading to violence that takes innocent lives. When that happens, you can’t simply say “Well, no matter what – you crossed the line by harming innocents. I don’t care who did what to you. This is a no-no. You and only you have to carry the blame”. This is a very peripheral view IMO – and it is a very common view. It is also a very emotional view. We should of course not condone that act in itself, nor justify it “as right and appropriate”. But importantly, we should not avoid looking deep enough at all the causes leading to that (which is why I said it was peripheral). Then only a more permanent solution can emerge. I think Chidambaram’s comments were pointing at the causes that the society as a whole needs to address that may (also) help avoiding problems like communal violence.


  45. September 26, 2008 2:12 am

    I think odzer is raising a valid point, that the Indian state increasingly resorts to violence and blatantly fascist laws (eg. AFSPA) to suppress dissent. It did so not too long ago against the Gujjars of Rajasthan, the farmers in UP and does it daily against many Muslim families.

    Whats interesting is that the level of this state violence seems to be increasing as the economy and media are being liberalized. The statement by the labour minister was just one manifestation of the latent fascist tendencies of the Indian state.

    Whats worrying is that a lot of the young, educated and urban Indians endorse this neo-fascism in the name of ‘strict action’, the long term consequences of this will not be good.

  46. September 26, 2008 2:55 am

    I’d rather stay quiet and let others think I am a fool rather than open my mouth and prove it. No no, that’s not for me, but its a suggestion for people in power. However, by expressing such views they are disclosing how myopic they are rather than keeping it to themselves.

    Nita, although I found this post very engaging and disturbing, I was surprised at the strong emotional undertone in your writing which is usually very subtle. I hope you are doing okay 🙂

  47. townecrier permalink
    September 26, 2008 6:31 am

    Mob violence, and attacking innocent people is NOT acceptable. However violence can in some situations be justified. To do otherwise is to turn humans into automatons and deny a necessary part of our humanity. Self defence is necessary violence, if one cannot recieve justice from the courts, perhaps due to tyranny, then violence is necessary.

    Secondly, the alienation of ANY group of people in society (not just muslims) leads to a rise in crime surrounding that group for a number of reasons. Please show me any society where that was not the case for the alienated group.

    I will agree when you say the government has become weak. The government should seek to uphold the rule of law rather than justify vigilante justice. But your argument is overly idealistic. It seems that you are at one extreme and the government is at the other.

  48. September 26, 2008 7:36 am

    wishtobeanon, Smita, Dineshbabu, Roop, thanks,

    Amit, that statement of Fernandes was politically motivated. His words might touch a chord with some.

    Prax, you are right. Like Shefaly said we are a brutal society. What you said:

    everyone is much angrier with the whole lot of politicians like him
    so do we bludgeon him to death ?

    is bang on! I am quite sure there are people who think justice will be done if he is bludgeoned to death. Any important figure has these kind of enemies.

    Arunk, glad you mentioned that no justification. Ofcourse there are reasons, there always are! However a lot of politicians and leaders are making statements like Chidambaram’s and I firmly believe that itincites violence. Therefore his statement is to be condemned strongly. And the fact that he is a senior minister of government is all the more reason why his statement was so objectionable.

    Vikram, You gave the example of the Gujjars agitation for state violence? Are you aware of the mayhem that was created in India by the Gujjars?
    If you are saying that any group can hold common citizens to ransom and the police should allow it. I am confused. If you wish you can about it here and here and here.

    If we had a fascist state we wouldn’t have the kind of terrorism we have and we wouldn’t have the Naxals either. I am surprised that you think calling for strict law and order is an indication of fascism though. Yes I demand a strict law and order, but not the kind that is available in communist countries. And I do not believe in brutality to suppress dissent. Nor do I support any kind of riot. All riots should be put down with strict law and order and all the people should be punished. It’s the violence by the rioters that is to be condemned, not police action. And no, I am not for brutality by the police but in a generaly way I think you not talking of India. If our police were all that brutal we wouldn’t have riots. See China?

    Priyank, Fernandes may want to convince us that his statement was off the cuff, but it wasn’t. And I write a fair amount of emotional posts Priyank (you aint’ been reading!) and I assure you that neither me, nor a close one has been a victim of violence. But I have seen people suffer as I lived in Assam during the height of the Assam agitation. These people were not related to me or my friends, I have some blood curlding stories. Also I have been witness to the Sikh riots. I mean witness. I have seen people burning a few feet away from me. Our car was checked that day, we were told to get out, while they checked our dicky for some “hidden” person of Sikh origin. They noted my short hair, my father’s short hair, and they made us wait while they set other on fire. No, they found no one in our car, but they were stopping other cars too. The hair was set on fire and the people burnt right before my eyes. I was young then, and it has left a permanant mark on my psyche. Guess if one goes by the logic of some, these people had “reasons” too! Yes even Rajiv Gandhi said there was a reason!!! To even say such a thing, and in public is evil!
    To my mind they were goondas and criminals who were doing this for some money, given by the congress party. Much violence is politically motivated. And the police are left twiddling their thumbs. Our Law and Order situation is extremely weak.

    townecrier, your argument is a reasonable one to my mind, although I do not believe in taking the law into one’s own hands.

  49. September 26, 2008 7:51 am

    Citing reasons as justifications or rather playing the blame game is an old habit of politicians. I think its natural to find “motive” or “reason” behind an act but it should be separate from the act itself and its consequences. For one moment let us assume that alienation of Muslims is the reason behind violence created by some of them but that should not effect the way the violence should be treated by police or government…and that is to stop by whatever means necessary.
    About the alienation part I watched a very good discussion on 9X channel on TV that day. Maybe I will write about the points mentioned in that show in my post. One interesting thing was when one of the dignitaries corrected the host and asked her not to use the sentence mainstreaming of Muslims…its not as if there is some mainstream and all Muslims are on some other path.

    Reema, thanks. as you said the reason needs to be separated from the act otherwise there will be anarchy. – Nita.

  50. September 26, 2008 8:16 am

    //And the police are left twiddling their thumbs.

    Yeah, the day the executive is truly free from the legislature, the police will stop getting abused by politicians.

  51. September 26, 2008 9:14 am

    Nita, 60 people, yes 60 people, were shot dead by the police during the agitations. Dont you something fundamentally has to be wrong for it to be ‘necessary’ to kill 60 people to maintain law and order ?

    I did not say that India was a fascist country. A country has many parts, its state, its people, its institutions. If it was, people would be suppressed like they are in some other places and would not speak out like they do. I said that the Indian state has latent fascist tendencies. Anybody who can be suppressed, is. Is it really necessary to shoot dead protesting farmers ? How much harm can they actually cause ?

    Rioting should be condemned and controlled, but that should be followed by some deep thought as to why the riot actually took place.

    Btw, there are a considerable number of riots in China, mostly related to farm acquisitions and excesses by Communist party officials, esp. at low levels. This I know from some papers, but the Chinese government keeps a strict control on the news.

  52. September 26, 2008 9:27 am

    Vikram, I am against any form of murder or brutality by the police. All I am saying is that the Gujjar agitators were also indulging in riots and violence and they should be controlled. Quoting from an article on the Gujjar violence:

    In continued unrest in Rajasthan over the ST quota issue, two persons were killed on Thursday and five others injured in police firing when G protesters went on a rampage in Sawai Madhopur district, taking the death toll in the agitation to 18. Following the violence, Army was called out to assist the civil administration, Superintendent of Sawai Madhopur Jose Mohan said. With Thursday’s incidents, the death toll in Gs’ stir in last three days has risen to 18. However, the unofficial toll has been put at 20. As the protesters went on a rampage at Bonli village, 70 kms from Sawai Madhopur, damaging vehicles and setting on fire a police post, the police first resorted to lathicharge and burst teargas shells before opening fire, the SP said.

    Law and order to me does not mean shooting people. We need to penalise those who are trigger happy. But the police need to protect the common people. And no, I do not believe that there is any reason to kill, even by the police! However, I feel that you were looking at it from one point of view. The common people need to be protected, police action is necessary.
    About China, yeah I know, there were riots after the earthquakes. Not only does China keep a control on the news, it also suppresses agitations brutally.

  53. September 26, 2008 11:14 am

    I agree with you that the people in the govt. should not justify the violence. However, the problem in India is that the aggrieved people have very few options. If the legal system were more efficient, there would have been less possibility of any violence. Only when all the doors to justice are closed, people tend to take recourse to violence.

    Sriniani, no I don’t agree. People resort to violence because they think they need justice, that much is true. While some may genuinely need justice, others may not. Therefore it is necessary not to tolerate violence, by anybody. – Nita.

  54. September 26, 2008 12:36 pm

    @ Nita : What I meant by the BMW boys was that you have a higher chance of being run over on a street here than being murdered. Stricter laws? What for? For Whom? You once said the law in this land only applies to the “common people”.

    @ Vikram : The state has no right to take lives of people or to use violence against them. That is my view of course. If the state reserves the right to use violence against individuals then so do the the individuals. The very people that say “all violence is terrible etc etc” support the state’s violence, they will not sometimes not even bat an eyelid while sending hundreds of thousands of young men to defend a “State”. They have no problems with death penalty even though some people who are innocent might become victims of it. Their thought process is often mired in confusion. How can you trust the government with so much power over your lives? Historically the governments have treated people as expendable commodities. I find this a bit hypocritical to be honest. Either you are for all violence or you are against all violence.

    Odzer, I understand you at last, from your last sentence to Vikram! I was trying hard to understand your thinking but I understand now. I believe in grays, not black and white. Life isn’t like that, according to me. And yes I believe in very strict laws, which I believe you equate with violence. No, not the death penalty or brutality or torture, but strict action against wrongdoers, locking them up for instance.
    But overall, as now I understand your thinking, we can agree to disagree. – Nita.

  55. September 26, 2008 12:39 pm

    Finally I am a bit surprised this discussion has gone on so long. So I am going to move on, thanks a lot to everyone who took the time to reply and congratulations to Nita for a long and interesting discussion.

    Odzer, pleasure having you in this discussion. 🙂 Your point of view, although I do not agree has added a lot to this discussion and certainly got everyone thinking. Thank you! – Nita.

  56. September 26, 2008 12:44 pm

    What if the mob turns to the labour minister and thrash him for the poor upliftment of the working class or the finance minister for the inflation.
    Would they just sit back and say, “Yes I/he was responsible and more ministers would be soon taking the ‘hit’ ” ??????

    Politicians supporting people who killed a person is questioning the very existence of the law and our constitution.

    Xylene, those that support violence change their mind quickly once they are targeted! It’s hypocritical in my view to condone violence against someone else as long one has Z security and bodyguards! These people are cowards and feel the law should only apply if someone harms them!! – Nita.

  57. hoku permalink
    September 26, 2008 1:34 pm

    Nita@ I fully agree with your note to Xylene. But I think whether Z or not, it is hypocritical for every one who supports violence as a necessary evil to sustain his/her existence (which includes the socio economic ecosystem within which the person is comfortable).
    But I am a bit confused now about the minister’s statement-
    1. Statement is morally wrong because an unfortunate incident has happen.
    2. The Statement is okay had there been no physical violence.
    3. Statement is wrong because management has right to push workers to the wall.
    4. Statement is wrong because no one has the right to give warning to management.
    5. The statement is true but as he is a minister he should not have uttered those.
    6. The statement is absolute truth, but timing is wrong.
    7. Statement is wrong because it is against the rich.
    8. Statement is not wrong as long as the victim is a worker.
    9. The statement is true (in this case it can only be established after thorough enquiry, although it seems Nita is sure) and we should amend our self.
    10. The statement is okay in case the worker resort to non violent protest including strike (any way we are not much bother whether he is reinstated or non, we are happy that it was non violent)
    11. The statement is wrong because violence by workers is an expression of audacity and defiance.

  58. September 26, 2008 2:23 pm

    Nita, I am not supporting violence. What I meant was that if there is a proper mechanism to redress the genuine complaints of injustice, the possibility of violence decreases considerably.

  59. Sudhir permalink
    September 28, 2008 9:25 pm

    It was immediately after Indira Gandhi came back after Janata rule and she ordered that the oil blockade has to end. The first action was to allow the workers to get inside the industrial area of Oil India. That is where the firing took place and a few persons died. There was no death of any Oil India employee at the time.
    The Resident Chief Executive knew very well about the orders of the PM. Even then he chose to visit the Governor of Assam at Shillong, leaving Robi Mitra in charge. Robi was the technical manager and 2 In Command. He was called to the hospital to visit the civilians (none of the injured was an employee of OIL) and lynched to death in his car.
    I was associated with the aftermath. The perpetrators threatened all the witnesses and although I assured them full protection to give evidence in the Court, none came forward. The guilt could not be proved and all the accused went free. What would have been the feelings of the near and dear ones of Robi?

  60. R.Sajan permalink
    September 28, 2008 11:40 pm

    bhavishya purana,; narada purana and vishnu purana describe kaliyuga…… Things are turning out to be exactly as they describe.

    There is no escape from violence.

  61. September 29, 2008 11:51 pm

    There has been another incident of a software CEO been beaten up in NOIDA!

    Recently 2 Security guards Of TATA project at Singur were attacked.

  62. No Reason permalink
    September 30, 2008 9:48 pm

    The alienation of the Muslim community in the country is taking educated Muslims towards the path of violence.

    This is not the reason.The grassroot has to be found out and worked upon.As shown in Khuda Ke Liye,these terrorists are brainwashed to perform such acts on the name of religion.Unfortunately,it is true.Notice the CDs which are always found when any activists are caught?
    One of my friends was victim of such a brainwashing session.He was told how Islam is in danger,and how those who fight are great souls,be it for any cause,and blah blah stuff.Of course,he never visited that place again.But,what can he do?Reporting the police was futile,as there is no law to catch such recruiters.And if police ever took an action,it was sure to make great waves in media for catching innocent people.
    IB needs to work on this with great perspicacity.The challenge lies here.

  63. October 10, 2008 8:18 pm

    Your post is as interesting as the comments.
    I personally do not support violence in the context of such situations and I am inclined to agree with you.
    It is not acceptable if the government makes a statement that means ‘they had it coming’- and that justifies (even if in a disguised wording), at least partially, the violence, and absolves, again at least partially, the perpetrators of the criminal and inhuman nature of their act.


  1. No reason for violence | DesiPundit

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