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Red Alert

Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010

The month of September has been one of the most apprehensive months I have experienced since arriving in India.  It felt like one issue after the other has presented itself, and threw people into a constant state of fear.  On September 11, many were afraid that if Pastor Jone’s went through with his plan and burned Korans, then American would not be safe from angry, rioting mobs.  Then on September 19, there was a shooting at the Jama Masjid in Delhi, injuring two Taiwanese tourists.  It has also been speculated that a possible terrorist attack will happen during the Common Wealth Games, sending people into to a state of panic for this upcoming event.

Most recently, the feeling that we are not safe, again, resurfaced when India was put on red alert due to the Ayodhya debate in Uttar Pradesh.For over 60 years there has been an ongoing case on who this plot of land belonged to because this was the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram, and later the site of the Babri Mosque built by the Mughal emperor Babur.  The question of whether a previous Hindu temple was demolished or modified to create the mosque was debated.  Many feared that whichever side won the plot of land, the other would revolt.

Extra precaution was taken the day of the verdict.  States near Uttar Pradesh were put in red alert (to include Delhi).  Police were able to break apart groups bigger than six people on the street if they saw any.  Kids were taken out of school and kept home, and no one was on the street around the time of the verdict.

I knew to be cautious, but I maintained the mentality that this would not happen to me and that everything would blow over.  I didn’t fully understand the seriousness of these situations until talking to my friend who is half Indian and half American.  He told me that his family has emergency flight tickets for his mom, brother, and himself to be
lifted out of India in a moments notice if needed.  That’s when I realized that there are people who live here, and are constantly worried about their safety everyday.  On the slightest chance that trouble will strike, they are always in a state of red alert, bags packed and plane tickets on hand just to be safe.

Luckily, this time around, the panic was for nothing because the verdict divided the land up equally, but I can only wonder what will happen next.

Brigitte M. Clark

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