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Sahmat statement condemning violence in Delhi, Orissa and Karnataka

by Sahmat, 16 September 2008

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SAHMAT
- 8, Vithalbhai Patel House, Rafi Marg
- New Delhi-110001
- Telephone-23711276/ 23351424
- e-mail-sahmat at vsnl.com

16.9.2008

PRESS STATEMENT

With the shock and trauma of the serial bombings in Delhi yet to wear off, we are distressed to see the manner in which elements of the saffron brigade are seeking to make political capital out of a national tragedy by pushing for a special law on terrorism. We are struck by the irony that the saffron brigade is concurrently orchestrating a mass campaign of bigotry and lawlessness that began in Orissa and has now spread to Karnataka and even threatens hitherto tolerant and peaceful Kerala.

We are convinced that the people and the state authorities in Kerala will swiftly contain the threat to the peace in their state. But with the mob frenzy in Orissa and Karnataka being abetted by conniving state governments, we fear that the turmoil and suffering inflicted on the Christian communities may yet escalate.

We are convinced that the approach to terrorism that the Hindutva parties have been advocating is wrong-headed and susceptible to gross abuses. At the same time, we believe that the lawlessness the Hindutva formations foment and the impunity they enjoy in their campaign of violence against religious minorities, creates fertile breeding grounds for terrorism. We condemn the terrorism of the mob just as strongly as we condemn the terrorism of the bomb.

Before making the case for a new law on terrorism, the BJP and its friends need to learn respect for the law as it now stands. Since the governments in Orissa and Karnataka have shown that they are on the side of lawlessness, we urge civil society in these states to stand firm against the outbreak of religious bigotry and where necessary, impart the necessary lessons to the Hindutva forces in honouring the law of the land.

Ram Rahman, Vivan Sundaram, M.K.Raina, Madan Gopal Singh, Sohail Hashmi and Indira Chandrasekhar