Protests and agitations like those that took place in Azad Maidan on Saturday — where people gathered to protest against the killing of Muslims in Assam and Myanmar and which turned violent leading to the loss of two lives — are unacceptable. In such rallies, it is the innocent who suffer. If any group is genuinely concerned about the plight of Muslims in Assam, it should collect money and send help for those who have shifted to relief camps. The need of the hour is to help the affected persons, not teach the media “a lesson.”
The argument that the media coverage of the Assam riots was poor because the victims were Muslims is not correct. The Gujarat riots, in which most victims were Muslims, are still discussed by the media.
Also, it is not just Muslims who have suffered in the Assam riots. Many non-Muslims have also been killed and displaced. The northeast generally gets low priority in the media, which is the reason for the inadequate coverage.
As a citizen of India, everyone has the right to protest against the atrocities committed against him or his brethren. I am sure the organisers of the protest would have had that objective in mind before meeting in Azad Maidan. It was their primary responsibility to brief speakers. The whole idea to throw light on how the Assam government mishandled the riots was lost in the way the agitation unfolded. The authorities could have certainly handled the situation better by posting more policemen and paramilitary forces. They could have saved precious lives and prevented policemen from sustaining injuries. The only silver lining is the unconditional apology tendered by the organisers.