The All India Students' Association (AISA), the Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA), the All India Progressive Women's Organisation (AIPWA), the Jan Sanskriti Manch (JSM), the People's Union for Human Rights (PUHR), the CPI(ML) Liberation, and other human rights groups and social organizations based in Azamgarh have decided to organize a People’s Convention for Democracy and against Anyi-Muslim Witch-hunt at Azamgarh on Sunday, October 19, 2008.
The following is the text of a statement issued by them:
Azamgarh, specifically the Muslim community of Azamgarh, has been turned into a byword for 'terrorism' by the state machinery. Even before the Delhi serial blasts and their aftermath, Muslim youth from Azamgarh were being arbitrarily jailed and tortured as 'masterminds' of serial blasts in Uttar Pradesh, without a shred of evidence. Lawyers taking up the cases of such accused young men were beaten up by Sangh Parivar supporters in court premises in UP. At the same time, evidence of involvement of members of Sangh Parivar outfits (at many places in UP as well as in other States) has been wilfully suppressed or ignored by investigative agencies.
Now, after the Delhi blasts, the investigative machinery, aided by large sections of the media, has intensified its targeting of Azamgarh. The minorities of Azamgarh are living in terror, in an atmosphere of sharpened communal polarization and open instigation by communal forces in the region.
Many democratic voices have come forward to challenge the communal common-sense peddled in the name of anti-terrorism. Lawyers, human rights activists, university teachers, and student and youth groups have reached out to the people of Jamia Nagar and Azamgarh, have demanded a judicial enquiry into the Jamia Nagar encounter, and are waging a struggle for fair trial for all those accused of abetting or perpetrating terror.
Meanwhile, even as Manmohan Singh, choking with emotion, sealed the Nuke Deal with the US and declared eternal 'love' (on behalf of 'all of India') for President Bush, bombs explode at regular intervals all over urban India to warn us that we are fast turning into a typical outpost of the US 'empire of terror,' much like our neighbour Pakistan.
The BJP has renewed its clamour for re-enactment of POTA and the Congress, while uncertain about the return of POTA, has promised 'tougher' anti-terror laws. Even beyond the domain of legislation, the competitive anti-terrorist rhetoric of the Congress and the BJP continues to fuel anti-Muslim prejudices across the country. The Sangh brigade is using this environment to the hilt to refuel its communal fascist agenda and anti-minority campaign. The Sangh's campaign of anti-Christian violence has already spread from Orissa to Chhattisgarh and Karnataka, and in U, Sangh outfits are working overtime to whip up anti-Muslim communal frenzy.
In the name of tackling terrorism, the US has imposed a global war on the world. Similarly, in India, the Sangh brigade has been using anti-terrorist rhetoric to intensify its campaign of communal fascist violence. Nothing could pose a bigger threat to India than a combination or convergence of these two ominous trends under the patronage of the state and the ruling classes.
We invite you to stand in solidarity with the people of Azamgarh, send out a strong message that 'Not Azamgarh but America is the 'mastermind' of terrorism,' and defend democracy and people's rights by joining a People's Convention at Azamgarh on October 19 2008.
For more information, the following persons may be contacted:
Kavita Krishnan at email@example.com, Phones: 09868112252, 01122481067
K K Pande, firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 09415366520