Indian Government's Double Standards on Terrorism and Communal Violence sign now

Indian Government's Double Standards on Terrorism and Communal Violence

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. On the other hand Hindu extremists behind the communal violence in Orissa, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh against Christian populations are being allowed to go scot-free.

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.

The term 'terrorism' is however never associated with the Hindu 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, from religious minority communities. Hindu extremists have 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 Hindu 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 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;
2) Stringent punishment for those organising or participating in communal violence against Christians in Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and other parts of the country;
3) Special investigation by an independent body of the involvement of Hindu 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 a judicial commission to inquire into the indiscriminate arrests, torture and killings of youth belonging to the Muslim community.
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.

Shabnam Hashmi(ANHAD), Ashish Nandy (CSDS), Tanika Sarkar(Historian),
Sumit Sarkar(Historian), Apoorvanand (Lecturer, Delhi University), Kavita Srivastava (PUCL (Rajasthan), Jagadish (New Socialist Alternative, Bangalore), V.Srinivasan (Chennai Metro Union), Manisha Sethi(Lecturer, Jamia Millia Islamia), Pallavi Deka (General Secretary, JNUSU), Tanveer Fazal(Lecturer, Jamia Millia Islamia), Satya Sivaraman (Journalist),
Neshat Kaisar(Lecturer, Jamia Millia Islamia), Harsh Dhobal( Human Rights Law Network)

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