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Citizen’s statement against terrorism and communal violence in India

by Anhad, 3 October 2008

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’No Double Standards in the Fight Against Terrorism’

In recent months the country has witnessed a spate of terrorist attacks in different cities as well as organised communal violence against religious minorities in several states.

We the undersigned strongly condemn all these acts of violence that have resulted in loss of life and grievous injury to scores of innocent people. It is clear that whoever is responsible for such violence should be severely punished under Indian law and all measures be taken to protect the lives of ordinary citizens under threat from their activities.

We find it deeply disturbing however that the Indian government as well as concerned state governments have adopted double standards in dealing with the two equally deadly phenomenon of terrorist bombings and communal violence.

On one hand throughout the country Muslim youth are being targeted, without any or little evidence, as responsible for terrorist attacks. In our view there is a concerted attempt by the Indian police, sections of the media and certain political parties to portray all members of the Muslim community as ’terrorists and extremists’ - to be arbitrarily arrested, tortured and killed in fake encounters.

On the other hand Hindutva extremists behind the communal violence in Orissa, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh against Christian populations are being allowed to go scot-free. The term ’terrorism’ is never associated with the Hindutva extremist outfits like the Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad or the Shiv Sena despite their clear and acknowledged role in the murder and injury of hundreds of innocent Indian citizens.

This includes not just citizens from religious minorities but also anyone who happens to differ from the Hindutva extremists. While a vast majority of the Hindu population is peaceful and tolerant of diversity those upholding the politics of ’Hindutva’ are misusing symbols and beliefs of the Hindus to impose a fascist majoritarian dictatorship on the country.

Hindutva religious terrorists have also been found time and again planting bombs in Muslim religious places or localities in Nanded and Malegaon in Maharashtra, Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu and suspected of carrying out the heinous bomb blasts on the Samjhauta Express in 2007. The recent attacks on Christian religious institutions are in fact openly claimed by Hindutva terrorist groups, like the Bajrang Dal, in front of television news cameras and yet no action is taken against them.

It is in this context of utter hypocrisy of the Indian and state governments towards what really constitutes terrorism that we would like to demand the following:

1) An immediate ban on all organisations and individuals carrying out or inciting communal violence particularly the Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Shiv Sena. Investigation of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for involvement in terrorist activities and prosecution of its members if found guilty;

2) Stringent punishment for those organising or participating in communal violence against Christians or carrying out forcible ’re-conversion’ in Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and other parts of the country;

3) Special investigation by an independent body of the involvement of Hindutva extremist organisations in terrorist activity such as planting explosives, manufacturing arms and mobilising mob attacks on religious minority populations;

4) Disbarment from contesting national or state elections, by the Election Commission, of political parties found guilty of using religious, regional, linguistic hatred and violence to further their electoral fortunes;

5) Setting up of an independent judicial commission to inquire into the indiscriminate arrests, torture and killings of youth belonging to the Muslim community. Investigation of the unlawful activities of the ’special cells’ and ’anti-terrorist squads’ of the police and if necessary their disbandment

6) Payment of adequate compensation to each person, from all communities, arrested, tortured, injured or killed on false charges by the Indian police; prosecution of police officers guilty of planting evidence and framing false charges against innocent people;

7) Initiation of action on the recommendations of the Srikrishna Commission Report, expediting of pending cases against those involved in the demolition of the Babri Masjid and speedy justice for the survivors of the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat.

8) A ban on regional chauvinist organisations such as the Maharashtra Navnirman Samithi of Raj Thackeray responsible for attack, injury and murder of North Indians living in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.

9) Prosecution of bar association office bearers who have expelled members of the legal fraternity taking up cases of human rights violations or of those upholding the right to legal aid of those accused of terrorist activities and involvement.

10) Prosecution of media groups and outlets found guilty of defaming individuals and communities while reporting on the phenomenon of terrorism in the country.

1. A Sohaib
2. AC Michael
3. AK Ramakrishnan
4. Ali Bin Ahmed
5. Amitabh Pandey
6. Anand Patwardhan (Film maker)
7. Angela Farooq
8. Anil Chaudhary (Peace)
9. Anil Sadgopal (Educationist, Bhopal)
10. Apoorvanand (Lecturer, Delhi University)
11. Arif Azam Khan
12. Asad Zaidi (Writer & Publisher)
13. Ashish Nandy (CSDS)
14. Avinash Kumar
15. Azra Razzack
16. Dr Anuradha Ghosh
17. Dr John Dayal (Member, National Integration Council, Govt of India)
18. Dr Sabu M George
19. Dunu Roy (Ecologist)
20. Dushyant Bhai (AVHRS, Vadodara)
21. Farah Farooqi
22. Father T.K.John (Vidyajyoti College of Theology)
23. Fr Cedric Prakash (Director, Prashant)
24. Fr Dominic Emmamuel
25. Ghanshyam Shah (Historian, Ahmedabad)
26. Hanif Lakdawala (Sanchetna, Ahmedabad)
27. Harsh Dhobal ( Human Rights Law Network)
28. Harsh Kapoor (South Asia Citizens Web)
29. Harsh Mander (Aman Biradari)
30. Hiren Gandhi (Samvedan Cultural Programme, Ahmedabad)
31. Hozefa(Aman Samudaya, Ahmedabad)
32. Iftikhar Ahmad Khan (Professor of History, Vadodara)
33. Iqbal A Ansari (Social Activist)
34. Jagadish (New Socialist Alternative, Bangalore)
35. Jaya Mehta (Sandarbh Kendra, Indore)
36. Jenis Francis
37. Jitendra Chauhan
38. Jitendra Kumar
39. John Chathanatt (Vidyajyoti College)
40. Joys Sebastian
41. JunaidBhai Pathan(United Education Charitable Trust, Vadodara)
42. K Dasgupta
43. Kamla Bhasin (SANGAT)
44. Kavita Srivastava (PUCL, Rajasthan)
45. Mallika Sarabhai (Darpana Academy, Ahmedabad)
46. Manisha Sethi (Lecturer, Jamia Millia Islamia)
47. Manohar Singh
48. Manoj Verma
49. Mansi Sharma (ANHAD)
50. Mukul Mangalik
51. Nafisa Ali Sodhi (Social Activist)
52. Nalini Taneja (Delhi University)
53. Neelabh Mishra
54. Neshat Kaisar (Lecturer, Jamia Millia Islamia)
55. Nithiya
56. Omar Farooq
57. Pallavi Deka (General Secretary, JNUSU)
58. Poorva Bhardwaj (Nirantar)
59. Prabhu Ghate
60. Pradeep Bhattacharya
61. Praful Bidwai
62. Prasad Chacko (Activist, Ahmedabad)
63. Professor S. Hasan Mahmud (Vadodara)
64. Ranjit Abhigyan
65. Ravi Shankar Mishra
66. Rohit Prajapati (Activist, Gujarat)
67. S Waheed
68. Sachin Gupta
69. Salem Nusrat Ahmed
70. Sanjeev
71. Saroop Dhruv (Darshan, Ahmedabad)
72. Satya Sivaraman (Journalist)
73. Senthal
74. Shabnam Hashmi (ANHAD)
75. Sheba George (SAHR WARU, Ahmedabad)
76. Shivraj
77. Sivapriyan
78. Sonia Jabbar (Independent journalist)
79. Sumit Sarkar (Historian)
80. Tanika Sarkar (Historian)
81. Tanveer Fazal (Lecturer, Jamia Millia Islamia)
82. Tapan Bose(Social Activist)
83. Trupti Shah(Activist, Gujarat)
84. V.Srinivasan (Chennai Metro Union)
85. Vijay Parmar (Janvikas, Ahmedabad)
86. Vineet Tiwari (Madhya Pradesh Progressive Writers Association, Indore)
87. Waqar Qazi (Samvedan Cultural Programme, Ahmedabad)
88. Yusuf Shaikh (AIQM, Vadodara)