Vidya Dinker, secular activist’s 2016 Wishlist

My 2016 wishlist: Vidya Dinker, secular activist
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I would want the [Karnataka] state government to develop a kind of vision and policy framework to deal with immoral policing and communal policing [in Mangalore and Dakshina Kannada]. I would like the administration and the police to respond to immoral policing differently and not club them with regular criminal activity.

Socially, I would really like young people to stand up to reclaim their everyday private and public lives and not let goons dictate to them what they should wear, how they should behave, what they should say and who they should fraternise with. I would like social, cultural, economic and political measures to wean some of the youth who are getting involved in these illegal and immoral policing activities. The administration says “come down hard with an iron hand” but what I would like to see is prevention rather than a delayed response to the incidents happening. All of us need to gear up and tackle this menace.

Ordinary people like you and me need to stand up. Young people need to do the same. There needs to be some kind of political will and social and cultural measures. For example, right now they have banned Zakib Naik and Pravin Togadia from coming to the district. Normally, I would say don’t ban. I love free speech and I believe that if you have a problem with what somebody is saying, listen to him and then debate it. But here, maybe for a short time of about a year or two years, until things return to normal, maybe they should not allow anyone in who could possibly facilitate communal tension.

Whether we like it or not, a lot of these young people are recruited into the religious extremist or fringe groups because they are not gainfully employed. So they indulge in immoral policing because it gives them currency and they get into security agencies run by these groups or loan recovery agents. Part of the reason is social and economic. So I want the state to have a vision and framework in this regard.

Constitutional values should be brought into curriculums of schools and colleges. It cannot be that because they get some points for having something on human rights that they have one lecture on human rights. A rights-based approach, upholding constitutional values, rights and duties – these things need to be spoken about time and again within the classroom and outside.

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