Secular Organizations Condemn the Killings in Gujarat

We are grieved by and unequivocally condemn the dastardly and barbaric act of murdering of 55 train passengers by burning the two bogies near Godhra railway station in Gujarat, on February 27. Most of them were Hindu kar-sevaks returning from Ayodhya. Nothing can justify and rationalize such inhuman act. We demand that the burning of the train passengers seems to be pre-planned and all the perpetrators of this tragedy should be immediately apprehended and punished.

However, equally reprehensible and heart wrenching is the spree of killing of Muslims let loose in Ahmedabad and other areas of the state by the marauders. It seems that the state government has no control over the situation. Or rather it has allowed the communal elements to control the state. This politics of revenge has to be stopped immediately. State and non-state actors must take steps for it.

The entire incident of Godhra and subsequent rioting are aimed at destabilizing further the already chaotic socio-political fabric of our society and country. Such acts of violence are counter-productive and are therefore dangerous, as they tend to continue the mad cycle of revenge and counter-revenge. It is a time to maintain peace at any cost and for sober introspection. The Gujarat and other governments must prevent the further hostilities and violence. If it cannot do so, the Central government must step in.

There is an utmost need of the restraint of on all sides. No one should try to gain political or ideological mileage from such incident either by swearing for revenge or even remotely rationalizing it by citing the any prior incidents or instigation. It is obvious that the train was carrying many ‘kar-sevaks’ who went to Ayodhya to participate in the building of Ram temple on the disputed site of the Babri Mosque. This action on behalf of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has created considerable tension. But, that cannot be a rationale for killing the Kar Sevaks. The so-called ‘revenge’ and ‘settling score’ with Muslims is also fraught with dangerous possibilities. No amount of instigation can justify inhuman burning of the trapped people. Such rationalizations inadvertently tend to justify all such future or past actions, by any section of population.

Only by unequivocally ranging against all such acts and their perpetrators, from any community or group, we can try to restore the sanity within our society, by gaining trust of all. Otherwise, the people may find only recluse in the patently communal and fanatical elements. The secular and democratic forces must not leave such human issues for the communal forces to distort and exploit.

VHP Should Stop

While condemning the killing of the people at Godhra, we also denounce the wholly unwarranted and unnecessary exercise by the VHP regarding the temple building at the disputed site has vitiating the socio-political atmosphere within the country. It has already created insecurity and bad blood between the communities. When the people and the country are facing the challenges of poverty, illiteracy and neo-imperialism, such acts by VHP and its cohorts are diverting the attention and energies of our people towards non-issues.

It is the responsibility of the Prime Minister and the government to ensure that the secular nature of our constitution is preserved and the government force all parties to wait until the judgement of the court arrives.

According to the reports, the so-called Ram Sewaks are assembling in Ayodhya in large numbers for the declared purpose of Ram Temple construction. They are exhibiting aggressive tendencies. If another round of communal violence has to be avoided in the country, then we need to muster all our strength to contain the hostility of the Sangh Parivar.

Peace Efforts

In Mumbai, organizations related with National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Narmada Bachao Andolan, Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan and other activists held pickets near Chuchgate station condemning the gruesome incident and called for communal amity.

The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), with other organizations has planned Peace Programes from March 5 to 11, in Lucknow and Faizabad-Ayodhya. NAPM alongwith INSAF, Lokayan, Movement in India for Nuclear Disarmament, Delhi, Movement Against Nuclear Weapons (Chennai), Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (West Bengal), and Dalit, Left and Gandhian organizations have organized padayatras ( peace-marches) from Lucknow to Ayodhya and keep ‘vigil’.

These organizations are met the Governor of Uttar Pradesh on March 1. In a memorandum, these organizations expressed concerns over the growing tensions in Ayodhya and the state. They said,

“ We demand that the inflow of Ram Sewaks into Ayodhya be stopped and the Ram Sewaks already gathered there be sent to their respective homes. We hold the Prime Minister and the government responsible for the untoward incidents taking place due to this movement, for example, the molestation of Muslim women by Ram Sewaks in Sabarmati Express and then burning of coaches of this train in reaction, killing a number of people.

It is the responsibility of the Prime Minister and the government to ensure that the secular nature of our constitution is preserved and the government force all parties to wait until the judgement of the court arrives”.

Sanjay M.G. ( National Co-Coordinator) Sandeep Pande ( National Convenor, Lucknow) Lata P.M. ( National Convenor) Medha Patkar ( National Convenor)

For further information regarding the programme, please contact Sandeep, Arundhati or Mahesh, at Lucknow (National Alliance of People’s Movement 9/982, Indira NagarLucknow-226016, U.P. Phone: 347365, 342435 e-mail: ashain@sancharnet.in).

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