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24 January, 2013

Civil Society activists endorse Shinde's statement on Hindutva terror

A host of civil society activists have come out in defence of Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's statement on the terror links of Hindutva organizations and called for effective action against communal elements.

The following is a statement issued by Asghar Ali Engineer, Mahesh Bhatt, Praful Bidwai, Sandeep Pandey and others:

We the undersigned are concerned by the developments in Andhra Pradesh following the alleged hate speech by Mr. Akberuddin Owaisi recently. Many groups and organisations including many of the undersigned had condemned the speech and demanded action and also against members of some Hindutva organisations who were engaging in similar activities.

There were many instances of hate speeches and communal instigations by leaders and members of different communities in the past but the government had failed to take appropriate action in time and thereby encouraged such behavior by these divisive groups.

Even in the present case of the speech by Mr. Akberuddin Owaise, the government did not act immediately and when it did act, a number of Sections including a very grave charge under Sec.121 that deals with sedition against the state and can result in death penalty or life imprisonment were booked against him.  It is unwarranted to charge him under such very serious sections. Further, Mr. Asaduddin Owaisi, MP, has also been arrested in an old case dating from 2005 and his bail plea has been rejected twice.

The total silence of the government for years in these matters and the sudden action in bringing up old cases and slapping of serious charges, especially in the context of the recent withdrawal of support by MIM to the Congress Government in the State is sending a very wrong message to the people that this is going beyond the requirements of justice and is being influenced by vendetta politics.  The matter becomes more sensitive when they are representatives of the people elected through the democratic process.    

We urge that any action by the government in all such matters should be immediate, impartial and commensurate with the aberration committed, otherwise it will be seen as victimization, spread disenchantment within the affected communities, polarise people and could result in social unrest and violence.

Hence, in the interest of justice and prevention of further polarisation that could have disastrous consequences for social stability and proper inter community relations, we urge the government to desist from any actions that appear vindictive and unjust or directed only against a particular community and undertake all and only such actions that are impartial and appropriate to secure justice. All people, irrespective of the community to which they belong would also welcome and endorse such actions and there would be no danger of any social disenchantment.   

Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer- Mumbai
Mahesh Bhatt- Mumbai
Praful Bidwai- New Delhi
Dr. Mazher Hussain- Hyderabad
Dr. Ram Punyani- Mumbai
Javed Anand- Mumbai
Jeevan kumar- Hyderabad
Dr. Sandeep Panday- Lucknow
Irfan Engineer- Mumbai
Bro. Verghese- Hyderabad
Jatin Desai- Mumbai
M.J. Vijayan- NewDelhi.

The foillowing is a statement issued by Manisha Sethi, Shabnam Hashmi and others:

While one may or may not agree with the terminology employed by the Home Minister in his recent speech at Jaipur, we feel that for long prejudice has ruled investigations, obscuring the role of organizations and their multiple affiliates in planning and executing of attacks and bombings in the country. The veneer of 'nationalism' -- narrow, exclusionary and based on hatred for minorities as it is-- cannot hide the violence that Sangh and its affiliates beget and peddle. 

Civil rights groups have been arguing for long that the investigations into bomb blasts and terror attacks have degenerated into communal witch-hunts. Bomb blasts are followed predictably by mass arrests of Muslim youth, raids in Muslim-dominated localities, detentions, arrests and torture; media trials, charge sheets and prosecution based on custodial confessions and little real evidence. It has been assumed, and accepted widely, that no further proof of guilt need be offered than the fact that the accused belonged to a particular community. Leads which pointed to the hands of groups affiliated to Sangh organisations and their complicity in planning and executing acts of terror were ignored, never seriously pursued. The agencies, showing their abject bias, instead chose to pursue the beaten track of investigating Islamic terrorist organizations such—despite clear evidence pointing in the opposite direction. This was true of Nanded blasts in 2006, as well as of Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Sharif bombings.

The only exception was Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, who had, as far back as 2008 conclusively brought into the public domain the nefarious designs of Abhinav Bharat and its foot soldiers of hate: (Sadhvi) Pragya Singh of the ABVP, serving army officer Col. Purohit, and Sunil Joshi, Indresh and Swami Aseemanand belonging to the RSS. Karkare had communicated to the Hyderabad Police the sensational claim by Col. Purohit that he had procured RDX from an army inventory when he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir in 2006. The Hyderabad Police however ignored his messages, having already detained close to 70 youth belonging to the Muslim community.
We demand that:
·         Although the Indian government has belatedly acknowledged the heinous terrorist acts of the Sangh groups we feel that a genuine probe must also perforce encompass a thorough enquiry into the terror nexus straddling Abhinav Bharat, RSS, VHP, BJP and Bajrang Dal leaders together with sections of the Indian intelligence and security agencies who deliberately subverted the probes as well as the due process of law.
·       It must also be investigated whether the network of Hindutva terrorists have been provided not just political but also financial and logistical support by various governments
·         There must be a thorough investigation into the foreign sources of funding of the Hindutva organizations.
We hope that the acknowledgement of Hindutva terror will not remain a statement only but that the investigations will be seriously and sincerely pursued. 

1.      Manisha Sethi, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association
2.      Shabnam Hashmi, Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD)   
3.      Mahtab Alam, People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL)
4.      Mansi Sharma, Activist, Delhi   
5.      Subhash Gatade, Activist and Author, Godse's Children: Hindutva Terror in India
6.      Rajeev Yadav, Adv. Mohd. Shoaib and Shahnawaz Alam, Rihai Manch, UP
7.      Amit sen Gupta, Senior Journalist, Delhi
8.      Abu Zafar, Journalist, Delhi
9.       Harsh Kapoor, South Asian Citizens Web
10.   Seema Mustafa, Senior Journalist, Delhi
11.  Ram Puniyani, Activist and Author, Mumbai
12.  Sukumar Muralidharan, Senior Journalist
13.  Syed Zafar Mehdi, Journalist
14.  Dr. John Dayal, All India Christian Council
15.  Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy, JNU
16.  Navaid Hamid, Member, National Integration Council, GoI
17.  Prof Anuradha Chenoy, JNU
18.  Saba Naqvi, Senior Journalist, Delhi
19.  Wilfred Dcosta, Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)
20.  Harsh Dobhal, Human Rights Law Network (HRLN)
21.  Kavita Krishnan, All India Progressive Women Association (AIPWA).   

Niloufar Bhagat writes:

 I endorse the statement of the Union Home Minister . The truth is never defamatory, as the organizations resorting to terror did so in the name of Hindutva. It is time a spade is called a spade as it is every day for more than a decade the media and the Sangh Parivar among other organizations and parties have fed us stories about Jehadi and Muslim Terror and continue to do so through the corporate controlled media, and were not sued for defamation when an entire cultural and religious group was being defamed nationally and internationally , yet sweeping generalizations were made . Similar sweeping generalizations were made regarding " Sikh terrorism".
 The objective was political diversion .and divide and rule by projecting the Muslims as the real enemy when in fact global financial forces in league with comprador sections of the Indian Corporate Sector closely allied with  the corporate media were controlling the country and camouflaging policies , privatizing several sectors including health care and education and profitable public sector undertakings  , taking over land of the peasantry and the tribal people , among other policies  as a consequence of which financially once again the country is facing a downhill situation as the global recession and collapse of erstwhile financial centers was deliberately camouflaged by more than one political alliance .
 Jt. Commissioner of Police Mr. Hemant Karkare with his brilliant investigations exposed the real conspirators and terrorists, who are politically fascists , for which he paid with his life , we need  to honor his memory by an annual national lecture on issues vital to our Republic by  a foundation to be constituted , a fitting memorial .
Aseemnanda's Judicial Confessions which were made before a  Judicial Magistrate and cannot be retracted disclose a great deal among other investigations .
Mr. Chidambaram was similarly harassed for exposing these forces . We may disagree with these individuals on other issues ,however when they speak up in the country's interest we support them and when they fail to protect the weak and innocent  castes and classes in our society we must condemn them .
No organization which uses and misuses the religious card is acting in the interest of the country . This is true of the pre-partition period and true now. It must not be forgotten that the Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League had alliances in Bengal and Sind during the pre-partition period .
The real agenda is development , what kind of development and the priorities  ,in terms of people, classes and sectors and the issue of economic , political and social justice for all weaker sections and for society as a whole.

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