It is disturbing and extremely annoying to watch yet another drama of hurt-religious-sentiments unfold before you, this time in connection with the release of Kamal Hassan's movie, Viswaroopam. And it is no surprise that the state, as always, has preferred to be an apathetic audience to the ugly spectacle of its citizens' fundamental rights being trampled upon by some religious fanatics. They call them fringe organisations, but, I guess, far from being marginal, the influence of such extremism is more deep rooted in every religion (Remember the way M.F. Hussain, arguably one of the greatest painters India has ever seen, was hounded out of the country by rabid Hindu "fringe" groups). It is indeed a shame that governments do not protect the fundamental rights of their citizens, and instead end up buckling meekly and letting such mongrels have their way, whereas what they really should be doing is treating such movements with the ridicule and contempt they deserve and crushing them if they resort to any sort of violence. But then for that you need leaders with integrity, courage and vision, and sadly, like they say, they don't make them like that anymore!!
We have some archaic draconian laws (like the ones on sedition and blasphemy, AFSPA, etc.) which are used by governments to silence the sane and rational voices that are raised against oppression and injustice and those who stand up for the vulnerable and the poor. And if you want to unleash hatred and violence and commit atrocities in the name of (any) religion and (any) god, India is simply THE right place to be, however small a group you are; and if you're lucky enough, you might even end up getting some state sponsorship. With the way our governments make a mockery of democracy and justice, things, sadly, have a reached a point where calling India a free democracy would be tantamount to sarcasm.