Friday, May 4, 2007

A Riot Magnet

Call it pure coincidence or do a field study and come up with some analytical report about how socio-economic forces have caused people to resort to be more than vocal with their protests and how I happen to be in the vicinity since I’m too dumb to stay away, fact remains that I’ve begun to feel a bit like a war reporter. Anybody would, if they happened to be on the ground zero of four fairly violent riots in the span of a little more than two months.

The experience has undergone a transition from scary to funny to pissing off. Every burning bus or window being smashed is more routine now than Déjà vu.

It started in late January this year when with two friends and safely inside a car I passed through an area of town which had just been the centre of communal riots. The excuse in this case was a protest against the hanging of Saddam.

Then in mid February it started again when the Cauvery tribunal came out with its decision, first in Mysore and then in Bangalore I got a taste of it when buses I frequently travelled in and glass facades of buildings I passed every day were destroyed and later when I heard/read about these incidents I realised I had been dangerously close to these incidents when they were going on.

The last one happened on the last day of March, in Mysore where again I was witness to window panes of buses being shattered for almost no reason at all.

When I witnessed the same thing in 2004 an year before I discovered LSC I had seen the incident as nothing more than a few bandanna-wearing youth destroying public property. Perhaps it is the LSC effect or just the Law School effect that I now see this as part of a larger social issue.

- VikramA