30 March 2017
We, concerned citizens of India, appeal to all fellow citizens, including teachers, students, the university and school administrations, sportspersons, political leaders, trade unionists and organisers in social movements to respond effectively to the growing menace of attacks on our brothers and sisters from Africa. We believe our society needs to be sensitized to the problems faced by foreign students in India, more especially students who come to this country from Africa. We have had a long shared journey with the countries and peoples of Africa. We see the phenomenon of such attacks as reflecting a growth in communal-sectarian and even caste and race-related prejudice among sections of our people. We must campaign against discrimination based on colour, caste and religion in our everyday life. We are too well aware of how the attitudes we have pointed to sometimes contribute also to discrimination against students from particular parts of India.
We regret that there is little visible everyday effort in our education system, or in our public spaces and even homes, to rectify this state of affairs even though our Constitution and laws beckon us towards the goal of equality and equal protection. We need effective public education in our schools, universities and homes, in our public bodies, workplaces and sports bodies, trade unions and our social movements so as actively to engage in challenging discriminatory practices. We would especially call upon universities and those associated with them to initiate outreach programmes for students from Africa and to take responsibility for their-well-being. Simultaneously, these institutions must initiate extension programmes in their areas of operation to re-orient mindsets, eliminate prejudice and sensitise our people towards our foreign, and especially African, compatriots. We call upon artists, including theatre and cinema artists, writers, teachers, and sportspersons from across India to explore ways of working together to eradicate the scourge of racism and communal-sectarianism and to re-orient the narrow attitudes that have come to the fore especially in recent times.
released by People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS)
Battini Rao, Convenor PADS (95339 75195, battini.rao[at]gmail.com