And as the country celebrated with her Republic Day parade on Friday, as Guests of Honour; leaders from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore and Myanmar walked the red carpet and watched the impressive military might and cultural floats displayed for them, it was the President of Thailand it is believed who pointed to a movement beneath the red carpet.

“Oh, it’s nothing!” said the Indian leader with the white beard hastily, trying to hide the bulge on the carpet.

“Yes, I can see it!” agreed the Malaysian head, “I can see little children in a school bus being threatened by hooligans!”

“Just look at that beautiful float of Unity in the midst of Diversity!” said white beard trying to get the other leaders from looking too closely at the carpet.

“What’s that?” asked the President of Laos.

“That’s our Rajput soldiers!” said the pleased Indian boss.

“No that!” shouted the same leader from Laos, not interested in the Rajput soldiers but looking closely below at the carpet, “It looks like state governments encouraging rioters to break laws to stop a film being screened!”

“And that!” whispered the leader from Vietnam. “There’s blood from underneath seeping onto the carpet. “It’s the blood of a woman journalist I see dead!”

“Let’s concentrate on the pageants and parade!” said the Indian Prime Minister a tad sharply, “I’ve spent millions putting all this together.

“I can hear the motorbike killers fleeing! Where they caught?” asked the President of Vietnam.

“I don’t know and I don’t care!” said the leader with the white beard, “My parade is more important than all that’s happening beneath the red carpet!”

“Oh my god, there’s a mob lynching a man for eating beef!” screamed the President of the Philippines, stopping and peering hard at the carpet, “Why don’t you stop him sir!”

The Indian leader with the white beard cursed the decorators who had not laid a thicker carpet. The tanks rumbled, the soldiers marched, the fighter planes flew impressively in formation above but the Guests of Honour and slowly the rest of the world only saw communal killings, mob attacks, journalist murders, fake news circulated, all beneath the red carpet.

The man with the white beard growled, turned to the world and pointed to the impressive display he was putting up, “Look!” he screamed, “Look at our might! Look at what I have done!”

“We are looking!” shouted the world, “We are looking and we are shocked! What use your guns, missiles, soldiers and military might when you can’t protect your own people? What use of pretty cultural floats when you can’t protect the women once they step off?”

The tanks rumbled, the military boots echoed, the planes broke the sound barrier, but the world stared with horrified silence at what was happening beneath the red carpet..!

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