Apr 18, 2021 Letters
The country must salute Swami Aksharnand for having the courage to spotlight the use of the West Coast Masjid for government’s vaccination. The whining from the Swami is not just about the use of the Masjid for vaccination and the exclusion of his Hindu organisation. There is a deeper inherent problem.
Swami Aksharnand’s gripe of his Hindu organisation’s exclusion from the list of religious sites that were used for vaccination is only a tip of the Irfaan Ali government’s practice of religious bias. It is not long from now that there is an explosion over religious bias. The government is making blunders similar to what the coalition did in its months in office. Its re-election is in trouble similar to the coalition’s.
This government has ignored what most of the country has observed as an obvious problem from day one – the lack of religious balance in its appointments, awarding of contracts, and doling out of resources. Just look around who gets prominent appointments and ownership of companies or individuals that are awarded big contracts. There is widespread religious bias this government has pursued since it was sworn in on August 2. The President’s religious group seems to be favoured against the majority religions. The group that constitutes just 10 percent of the population is favoured with 40 percent of the appointments including the top posts, 80 percent of the contracts, and most of the resources. Rules on awarding of contracts and distribution of resources are routinely violated; Ministers and boards are instructed who to give contracts; there is no balance in the religious background of the recipients. NDCs and authorities close their eyes to violation of state land reserves on the West Coast by members of Masjids. The President is surrounded by appointees who are largely of his faith.
It has not gone unnoticed that the majority religious groups are complaining. People talk silently amongst themselves. They do not speak publicly like the Swami for fear of victimisation. And notice that all of the regular letter writers and commentators including Freddie Kissoon, Vishnu Bisram, Ravi Dev, and others are also silent on this issue. The Attorney General and members of the cabinet are also silent. Pandits are also silent. The mouths are muzzled by the hands that feed them. They castigated the coalition and former President Granger for perceived bias. But they will not condemn their government for practicing religious discrimination even against their own supporters.
The Swami is on his own on this one. Swami is a hero for courageously speaking up and highlight the problem of religious bias; rest assured that the political elite will punish him, his organisation, and his school. This government does not want anyone to publicly speak ill of its blunders or biased policies.
The Swami must be applauded for spotlighting this problem. It can only be hoped that the government will rectify it during this holy period for Muslims and Hindus.
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