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India: Concern at growing intolerance against minorties - PUCL press release

ABVP attack on migrant workers and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena threats to Biharis

5 September 2012

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Press Release

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has noted with serious concern the incidents of growing intolerance based on religion against the minority Muslims and also based on region in some parts of our country. Only a few days ago 98 Muslim labourers who were travelling to Karnataka, where they have been working as labourers, were made to get down from a train at the Bangalore railway station by the activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and were severely beaten up merely because being Muslims they were suspected to be Bangladeshi Muslims. After verifying their identity they were later allowed to move on by buses by the local police. No activist of the ABVP was, however, arrested nor any case registered against the ABVP hoodlums by the police. Even if the victims had been Bangladeshis, the ABVP had no right to use force against them. The PUCL strongly condemns this act of vandalism by the AVBP activists and demands strong action against them.

During the same period, in Mumbai, Raj Thackerey, the President of another communal outfit, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), threatened to label people from Bihar living and working in Mumbai as ‘infiltrators’, as if Bihar and Mumbai are two separate countries and the latter is his personal or ancestral property and only those following his diktats have the right to live there.

Earlier, a month ago, a hate campaign was started in Bangalore, Pune and several other cities against the people belonging to the north-eastern states, particularly those belonging to Assam, and using the mobile a fear psychosis was created in the minds of these people arousing safety concerns in their minds for themselves and their families, ultimately resulting in their large scale exodus back to their homes abandoning their jobs and studies in the middle.

The PUCL strongly condemns such divisive incidents for political gains or otherwise because they go against the Constitution of the country and the multi cultural, multi regional and multi lingual character of our society and they can only result in weakening the country as a whole.

Sd./- Sd./-
(Prabhakar Sinha) (Mahi Pal Singh)
President Secretary
PUCL National PUCL National