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Law and order must be an article of faith

There continues to be much pussyfooting about taking action against the groups spreading anti-Christian mayhem in the three states.

india Updated: Sep 22, 2008 22:14 IST

Article 355 of the Constitution is startlingly clear: “It shall be the duty of the Union to protect every state against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the government of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.” It is even more startlingly clear that the attacks against Christians and Christian institutions in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and now Karnataka are ‘internal disturbances’ that the state governments are unable or unwilling to tackle head-on. After Sunday’s multiple attacks on churches in Karnataka, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa pretty much threw up his hands, admitting that there has been a “lapse” in police action in the state. With the situation similar in the two other NDA-ruled states, the imposition of Article 355 — along with the imposition of national Emergency (Article 352) and President’s Rule (Article 356) one of the three ‘emergency provisions’ — is ripe.

There continues to be much pussyfooting about taking action against the groups spreading anti-Christian mayhem in the three states. It was the Centre’s stern warning to the Yeddyurappa government that resulted in the arrest of Bajrang Dal convenor Mahendra Kumar last week. That the state required a central rap on its knuckles to finally bring in someone who was merrily claiming responsibility for anti-Christian violence is shocking. Whatever be the political compulsions of state governments dithering from taking action against marauding goons, the Centre will be turning a blind eye if it doesn’t force law and order back in the three aforementioned states. And if need be — and this seems increasingly to be the case — Article 355 could be the answer.

Instead of playing out the ‘identity politics’ game with parts of India spiralling into violent squabbles, someone has to fix the notion that all Indian citizens are protected by the State. If the state governments are too timid or unwilling to do that, the Centre must.