Why is the intolerance gang mum over the fascist assault on Kangana Ranaut’s office?

The nation on Wednesday witnessed one of the most outrageous acts of the might of the state, when a demolition team of the Shiv Sena led Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) went on a rampage at the Mumbai based offices of Actress Kangana Ranaut. By the afternoon of Wednesday, footages showing a bulldozer forcefully making its way through the walls of the well decorated office were all over the media and social media. This was, at a time, when the actress was on her way to Mumbai in a flight.

The office of Kangana Ranaut in Mumbai’s Pali Hill would have been reduced to nothing but debris, had not a Bombay High Court order stopped it midway. The BMC on its part has sought to justify the act by citing legal technicalities and accusing the actress of illegal construction. Whatever may be the reason, right of wrong, but the act of the BMC to launch an outright attack on the premises of the actress on a 24 hour notice, that too at a time she was outside of the state, has indeed raised many eyebrows. Especially in the backdrop of a brewing dispute between the actress and Shiv Sena, the party which runs BMC and is also the central part of three party ruling coalition in Maharashtra.

No matter what the BMC or apologists say or cite, but the circumstances amidst which the action came, surely adds substance to the Kangana Ranaut’s allegation of “vendetta” against ruling Shiv Sena. If anything, the events of Wednesday have only exposed Shiv Sena’s character and its inability to take criticism.

The entire fiasco involving Kangana Ranaut and Shiv Sena began after the actress questioned the state’s law and order situation. Instead of assuring safety to one of the city’s prominent citizens who contributes to the state with taxes, the spokesperson of the ruling party responded with such language towards a woman which would put even the most abusive drunkards toiling on the streets to shame. A matter, which could be amicably sorted with a simple assurance or show of maturity from the government side, turned into a nasty fight between a citizen and her government, due to the inability of those at helms to digest criticism, and eventually resulted into the mess that we witnessed yesterday.

The events of Wednesday, perhaps also adds substance to the age old impression of Shiv Sena as more of a gang of goons which thrives on regionalist rhetoric and street level machismo than a matured political party. However, apart from Shiv Sena, the other group of people whom the events of yesterday have exposed are the infamous “intolerance gang.” There are a group of people who every now and then accuse the BJP led central government of intolerance. Often resort to award return campaigns. Cry and whine on television. And don’t even shy away from siding with those who wish nothing but destruction of India as we know it.

But surprisingly, this “intolerance gang” which has otherwise mastered the art of hyping even small incidents beyond all proportions, are maintaining pin-drop silence on the real show of state might against a dissenter. Those who cry about fascism almost every alternate month, are silent over an action which could best be described as “fascist.”

This silence, only add substance to the notion that this “intolerance gang” is no group of social crusaders but mere political pawns who cause noise and furore only when signaled by their bosses.

Playing devil’s advocate, let me accept that Kangana Ranaut is one individual who is desperate for limelight. And that all her actions and statements are merely to keep herself relevant in media. Let me also accept that her comments regarding the law and order situation in Mumbai was wrong and her drawing an analogy between the nation’s financial capital with Pakistan occupied Kashmir was a grave offense and an attack on local Marathi pride, but how does any of this justify the sheer act of vendetta that was carried out by Shiv Sena, by using the power of the state?

And doesn’t this silence by the so called crusaders against intolerance, raise a doubt at their credibility and honesty? One thing which must be remembered here is the close proximity which the intolerance gang shares with the Hindi film industry (Bollywood) of which Kangana is a part. As a matter of fact, the inner circle of the intolerance gang is wholly comprised of Bollywood actors, directors, writers, producers et al. And yet, apart from a few faces who are already known to be close to the actress, most from the film industry, are mum over the incident. The question is, why? Is it not politically convenient for them? Why is it that at a time when even coalition partners of Shiv Sena are criticising the act, Bollywood and its intolerance gang is finding it difficult to issue a single condemnation? Will they also keep silence if similar steps are taken in future against some other actor or actress, perhaps those who are more close to the inner circle than Kangana? Only time will tell.

But one thing is for sure, Kangana Ranaut is not a person to lay low. As instead of succumbing to the state power, she has clearly made it clear that her intentions are of taking the challrnge head on.

Making the future course of events apparently clear, Kangana Ranaut in a video message on Wednesday evening lashed out at Shiv Sena Supremo and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray saying, “Uddhav Thackeray, tujhe kya lagta hai? (what do you think?) That you colluded along with the film mafia, demolished my home and took revenge on me? My home was demolished today, your arrogance will crumble tomorrow.” It is noteworthy that in the video, Kangana intentionally referred to the Maharashtra CM using the pronoun of “tu,” which is regarded as rather audacious when used in reference to someone senior in Hindi language.

Kangana Ranaut is known as a fighter, and she is in no mood to surrender early in this fight. The battle might extend to next several weeks if not months and just like the “intolerance gang” it might end up exposing some other sections of the society before reaching its culmination.

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