The following is a statement issued by a group of prominent citizens condemning the communal violence at Dhule and other places in Maharashtra:
The recent communal violence in Dhulia leading to the death of five people and injury to nearly 160 others is a matter of great shock and pain. The small incident of payment of hotel bill was used to instigate violence leading to mayhem, destruction and deaths. .Another petty incidence was also used in Akot town a couple of months ago to unleash violence in which many shops belonging to minority community were burnt. Similarly in Raver the skirmish between two communities led to violence.
We have seen the most tragic violence after the demolition of Babri mosque. Then the series of bomb blasts and riots all over the country from which our secular fabric has still to recover fully. Unfortunately, Maharashtra has suffered many a communal disturbances in these past two decades in places like Jalna, Parbhani, Malegon and others. Even 65 years after independence, our democracy seems to have failed our women and our minorities on whom violence in different forms is unleashed regularly with omissions or commissions of the state machinery. The biased role of police on most of these occasions is a matter of further worry. Communal violence is a bane of our society and is adversely affecting not just the minorities but the very progress of our country adversely.
Communal elements are trying to strengthen themselves through these activities. One is also fearful that these communal elements are stepping up their efforts as a prelude to the forthcoming elections of 2014.
While condemning these senseless acts of violence, we appeal to people to avoid provocation by communal elements. There is a need to set up Mohalla committees and increase intercommunity interactions at all levels. The prevalence of myths and biases against the ‘other communities’ has also to be overcome. The Government has to take urgent steps to ensure that the communal violence is prevented in future. The steps to sensitize the police; through workshops, lectures and literature of communal amity has to be undertaken on urgent basis.The Government should also urgently bring in the Communal Violence (Prevention) Bill as suggestd by NAC after suitable modifications and implement it as soon as possible.
We urge upon the State Government to ensure immediate and impartial action to bring the situation under control, establish fast track courts to punish the guilty and initiate long term measures, including sensitisation of the police, to prevent recurrence of riots.
Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Mumbai
Admiral L. Ramdas- Mumbai
Mahesh Bhatt- Mumbai
Ram Punyani- Mumbai
L.S. Haredenia- BhopalDr. Mazhar Hussain- Hyderabad