Terror has no religion

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Terror has no religion

Saturday, 16 March 2019 | Pioneer

Terror has no religion

There’s no excuse for the brutal mass killing of innocent worshippers by a bigot in New Zealand

Another day, another mass shooting with tens of innocents murdered by a deranged killer. This time, the nation in question is not the United States but New Zealand. Yes, New Zealand, that peaceful nation on the edge of the map where one of the warmest communities on the planet stays. The shock being professed by many is not just at the shooting but the fact that it could even occur in that country. And this was not committed by any ordinary psychotic gunman, this was committed by a crazed religious Christian bigot who wanted to exterminate Muslims from his country. The implicit White nationalism that this shooter believed in is a similar ideology advocated by racists across the Western world. This man was not a lone gunman, he was a terrorist like Andres Brevik outside Oslo or Ajmal Kasab in Mumbai.

Terror has no religion and anyone who wants to kill innocents on the streets, in schools and in religious places has to be labelled a terrorist, no matter what his motivation. Innocents are those people going about their day to day lives not expecting anything out of the ordinary. There will be an attempt by some, particularly in the Western world, to whitewash these crimes because many of those who died were first-generation immigrants. But the concept of acting on behalf of “my people”, as the gunman said he was doing, must also be condemned. As India knows too well, terrorism exists because of the apologia of political leaders and the law turning a blind eye. Most terrorists are not members of some underclass but live and work freely.

Thankfully in India, unlike New Zealand, the United States and Norway, it is not easy for members of the general public to acquire high-powered weapons like the ones the terrorists have used. And this again highlights the need for authorities across the world to clamp down on the availability of high-powered weaponry to citizens. Even if the right of citizens exists to bear firearms, it is ridiculous for military-grade automatic versions to be available to the general public. In that respect, India’s overall gun licensing laws, while archaic, have kept weapons availability thankfully limited although there is still rampant gun-running and smuggling, particularly of the illegal variety, in parts of northern India. Our authorities would do well to clamp down on those to prevent any chance of a crazed man, and it almost always is a man, committing such a crime here. It takes a special type of a disturbed individual to kill children in a school or people while they are praying and we repeat, such people are terrorists.

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