Need of a robust politico -legal framework

Recently, a video from villagers of Sarguja district of Chattisgarh went viral on social media . The video shows the villagers taking an oath to implement an economic boycott of Muslims. The problem does not end here because this move was motivated by a Hindutva outfit. The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) is known to distribute pamphlets calling for the economic boycott of those whom they consider “anti national, anti hindu, love jihadists” .

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Also ,one more incident came to limelight from INDORE of Madhya Pradesh where a 25 year old bangle seller was brutally thrashed. The attack was a result of a communal campaign pushed by hindutva groups on different social media handles for an economic boycott of muslim vendors in the country.

A progressive re-articulation of the concept of untouchability or a re-reading of the anti discrimination legislation is required to end this.

Now, the problem is that the fundamental rights enshrined in our constitution under articles 14,15 and 17 do not talk about religion driven economic boycott.

In India, mere provision of rights has proved to be insufficient to prevent marginalisation owing to the practice of untouchability and hence, the legislature and the judiciary have had to make and interpret special laws to that effect. Two laws which explicitly make social and economic boycotts punishable are The Scheduled Castes and the scheduled Tribes ( Prevention of atrocities) Act, 1989 , and Maharashtra protection of people from Social boycott ( prevention, prohibition and redressal) act,2016 . However ,the scope of both is restricted to criminalising caste-based discrimination and boycotts .

The many Indians who oppose such targeting of Mulims need to stand up and resist the current trend in their own individual ways. only then and not till then we as a nation will be on the path of progress .

These grave new developments need to be taken into cognisance and an urgent politico-legal response to such public calls for economic boycott of any religion is required . India is known for its unity in diversity. Let’s cherish this legacy and any attempt to demean it should be taken very seriously.